Monday October 22, 2018

Are Indian Textbooks inculcating Gender Stereotypes?

12th grade sociology textbook of Maharashtra State Board advocated that if a girl is ‘ugly’ or ‘handicapped’ then her family is liable to dowry

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New Delhi, Feb 10, 2017: Recently, a story on a social issue based story portal surfaced, which spoke about the plight of gender representation in state board textbooks. A 12th grade sociology textbook of Maharashtra State Board advocated about the reason behind the existential social evil called dowry.

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The reason mentioned in the book was that if a girl is ‘ugly’ or ‘handicapped’ then her family is liable to dowry. It evokes a rationale that the girl is required to pay a ‘penalty sum’ to qualify for marriage. Does this exhibit that India is still regressive and the sub continent is not receptive to positive social growth? Is India still conforming to centuries old stereotypes and pursuing not-so-effective strategies for escaping stereotypes that show women only capable of doing menial jobs?

So, what kind of ramifications do the textbooks conforming to the gender stereotypes have? The ramifications could be aggravation in economic and social gender disparity, in which women are stereotyped to be weak, meant for menial jobs and not possessing any technical prowess. Stereotyping is also responsible for aggravation in gender-based violence and crimes against women. It’s nefarious for men as well. For instance, a man responsible for fulfilling of household chores is often seen with contempt.

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The first time this issue came into the limelight was post 2016 Nirbhaya rape case when Justice Verma committee gave a recommendation to integrate gender equality in the curriculum for inculcating an egalitarian approach. PMO asked HRD ministry to reiterate on the inclusion of moral science and value education in schools. NCERT submitted a report that analysed and examined the number of stereotypical representations of genders. For instance, women were depicted in ‘caretaking’ roles such as nurses, teachers etc. and on other hand men were depicted as engineers, shopkeepers, surgeons etc. NCERT gave some recommendations like certain terms like ‘milkman’ and ‘policeman’ were to be made gender sensitive and ownership of anything should be jointly shown. For example, instead of “man owning a shop”, it should be framed “man/woman owning a shop.

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According to 2008 Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report (GMR), in India, more than half of the illustrations in Mathematics, Science and Social Science textbooks showed males, only 6 per cent of females were shown.

The educational policy makers had pledged in 1965 to eradicate all sorts of traditional concepts of female inferiority. Sadly, even after such a long span of time, no significant achievement has been accomplished to expel gender inequality from Indian society.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

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Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

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The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)