Do we live in a society that preaches and practices gender equality?
Gender equality is not just about economic empowerment – it is a moral imperative! It is about equity and includes many political, social and cultural dimensions. It is also a key driver of self-reported mental well-being across the world. Numerous countries, including India, have made significant progress towards gender equality through the right education in recent decades and girls have been given the opportunity to soar. However, the glass is still only half full: women continue to earn less than men, are less likely to make it to the top of the career ladder, and are more likely to be hesitant in pursuing entrepreneurship. However, collaborative efforts from academia and industry alike, can help aid in narrowing the gender gap, especially in the field of entrepreneurship. Teachers play a critical role to prevent gender stereotypes and reduce gender bias right in the formative years of individuals. Training the mind in this direction begins in the classroom. Acknowledging this noble task performed by teachers among many other, today, on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, the team of Sheatwork applauds their selfless endeavours to create an equal and progressive society.
Where will the right education take us?
The right type of education enables girls and boys, women and men to participate in social, economic and political life and is a base for the development of a democratic society. It is a crucial factor to alter attitudes and mindsets into accepting gender equality as a fundamental social value. Today, entrepreneurship education and equitable economic development are synonymous with each other. Despite women’s constantly increasing participation in the labour market over the past half-century, they remain substantially under-represented as entrepreneurs. Greater educational attainment, gender equality and women entrepreneurship have accounted for about half of the economic growth in many developing countries in the past 50 years. Entrepreneurship plays as important a role in developing countries as in developed ones in creating jobs, innovation, and growth. Fostering entrepreneurship is a key policy goal for governments of all countries which share the expectation that high rates of entrepreneurial activity will bring sustained job creation. – so why should India be left behind? Right education will take us towards a more self-reliant, sustainable and equal future.
What the experts say….
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, argued that the first five years of an individual’s life are the ‘plastic years’ or more simply, the formative years. According to him, childhood experiences during those years influence a significant percentage of adult characteristics. Hence, the importance of focused and right teaching during the initial years of our lives cannot be under-valued. When teachers or even parents, avoid separating children based on gender and acknowledge them as individuals the idea of ‘gender discrimination will never take root!
Further, using gender-neutral language when referring to children and giving each child, whether boy or girl equal opportunities in the classroom environment or beyond, will help build confidence in them. Girls are consistently underrepresented among top performers in their careers. The reason for this under-representation is not lack of ability, but lack of opportunity. Hence it is important to ‘teach’ the society and ‘coach’ girls to believe in their abilities and take the leap of faith into the entrepreneurial world.
Gender inequality means not only foregoing the important contributions that women make to the economy but also wasting years of investment in educating girls and young women. Making the most of the talent pool ensures that men and women have an equal chance to contribute both at home and in the workplace, thereby enhancing their well-being and that of society. Teachers play an extremely important role in instilling this belief in equality, thereby helping young girls to aspire for careers that were previously stamped ‘for boys only’, including entrepreneurship.