Unbelievable as it sounds, gender bias clearly exists even in this day and age as gets proved by this school which expelled this girl for an inane reason.
The reason behind the expulsion? Pretty much shallow! The 12-year-old girl wanted to join the boys’ basketball team of their school. Sydney Phillips of New Jersey, wouldn’t mind joining the girls’ team. However, as per this report, the school dissolved the girl’s team for “lack of interest”. Since Sydney loved the game so much, she expressed her desire to join the boys’ basketball team. That’s when the gender bias Gods showered her with their blessings.
When she asked the school authorities whether she could join the boys’ team, the worst she expected was a ‘no’. As a matter of fact, the school did say ‘no’. However, not one to take things lying down, she decided to take the legal route.
Her father, Scott Phillips, immediately filed a lawsuit against the school. However, unfortunately, they lost in court and Sydney and her younger sister, got expelled from their school. But not all is lost for the young sports girl as she is now training with the New York Liberty women’s basketball team.
At a time when more and more young women need to be encouraged to join sports, what happened with Sydney was cringeworthy. After all, sports is supposed to not only be good for your physical health, it also supports and enhances the mental well-being of an individual. Just like the boys, girls too need to be supported and given the right coaching so as to take it up more seriously.
We live in a world so neatly compartmentalised, that right from the colour of your shirt to the length of your hair seems to have a typified gender. So, how do you ensure that you raise your little ones devoid of such biases, where they can make their choices and stand by those? Here are some tips:
- Pink and blue are just colours: Avoid meditating on painting the boy’s room in blue and the girl’s room in pink (unless they want it that way). Resist the temptation to buy yet another pink frock for your daughter. Kids pick up these subtle cues from us. After a point, we are left wondering why on earth is my ‘little princess’ so fond of pink. Give them options. Tell them all colours look good on you. A rainbow wouldn’t look so beautiful had all the seven colours be pink.
- Let them pick their toys: Don’t hyperventilate if your son demands a doll for his birthday. Let him explore the idea of playing with a doll. Similarly, from infancy introduce gender neutral toys for your children. Introducing lego blocks play dough instead of toys which scream out its preferred gender.
- Future goals? Let them decide: It’s a done to death cliche to tell our girls to be doctors and teachers while the boys can explore being an engineer, a cop, or some other ‘macho’ profession. Seriously? Shouldn’t the idea thing be to raise brave children? Or do only boys have a monopoly on being brave and strong? Think before you speak. Most often, the stuff we say needs to be filtered as it subconsciously tends to have a gender specific stereotype attached to it.
Finally, ensure that in a bid to avoid gender bias you do not foster reverse gender discrimination. Prejudice is prejudice, irrespective of the gender.
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