“Sex” refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women while “Gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Sex is defined at birth which is static while gender can be acquired, dynamic, and changes over time.
Gender sensitization refers to changing behavior and instilling empathy about our own and the other gender towards equality. It is required for the normal development of an individual. Without Gender sensitization, no gender can understand the opposite gender and their needs in harsh circumstances. Gender sensitization makes people aware of the need to bring about a change in our mindset which sees men as the breadwinner and women as the housekeeper.
Why Gender Sensitization?
In recent times, a much stronger need is felt to talk and discuss this sensitive topic. In a country like India, where there is a vast diversity of customs, traditions, rituals, values, beliefs, and perceptions, the need for a more planned and professional approach is required to highlight the contribution of both genders toward the sustainable development of society.
Gender sensitivity helps to generate respect for the individual regardless of sex. On the contrary, education can play a major role in normalizing the topic. Thus, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed syllabus and textbooks across the subjects to promote gender sensitization in the school curriculum. The textbooks at all stages of school education prioritize gender sensitization in designing activities/exercises. Gender-sensitive messages have been incorporated on the inside of the cover pages of the textbooks and other supplementary material. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also prepared guidelines for gender sensitivity in textbooks and textual material, including question papers.
Gender awareness requires not only intellectual effort but also sensitivity and open-mindedness. It opens up the widest possible range of life options for both women and men.
Facts and figure
Both genders are precious creations of nature and contribute equally to the sustainable development of society. Any sort of imbalance w.r.t. The survival rate, individual count, literacy, health, safety, respect, and freedom will disbalance the whole world.
The sex ratio at birth has improved from 918 in 2014-15 to 931 in 2018-19 and the female literacy rate has increased from 55.1% in 2004-05 to 68.4% in 2015-16. As per NCRB data, which is available up to 2016, 339457, 329243, and 338954 cases were registered as crimes against women in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively.
Importance of Gender sensitization
Gender sensitivity helps to generate respect for individuals irrespective of sex.
It promotes equality in education, employment, and other spheres of work and family.
According to modern trends, men and women are equally responsible players in the family, society, and national affairs. Women must be recognized as representing half of the world's most precious resources called human beings.
Ways to overcome the disparity against gender bias
- Individuals need to be more open-minded, rational, and unbiased in their thoughts and actions.
- We need to break all kinds of orthodox beliefs and biased natures to accelerate the progress of both genders.
- Women’s safety has to be safeguarded and discrimination against the female population is to be stopped.
- Training and creating awareness in educational centers and workplaces can eliminate gender-based prejudice.
- Gender sensitization at the workplace - Today’s workplace is very diverse and is becoming more so every day. Employees need to understand, be sensitive, and be kind towards different people including women. Gender Sensitivity training will help employees personally cultivate good interpersonal relationships with members of their team and help facilitate the productive growth of the company. Employers should commit to equal employment opportunities at the workplace and management should not distinguish people on the basis of sex. It helps to develop a cordial and amiable working environment where there is mutual respect and trust between the sexes.
Role of government in eliminating the disparity
The Government of India is implementing various schemes/programs to overcome gender disparity and provide equal status to women in the country. The schemes being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for the welfare of women are
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) to improve the Child Sex Ratio and enable education for the girl child
- Swadhar Greh Scheme to provide relief and rehabilitation to destitute women and women in distress
- Ujjawala is a Comprehensive Scheme for the prevention of trafficking and rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation,
- Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) provides loans to poor women through Intermediary Micro Financing Organisations (IMOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to promote their socioeconomic development,
- Working Women Hostels (WWH) for ensuring safe accommodation for women working away from their place of residence.
A society can only be progressive if we recognize that it comprises both male and female members of equal value. Roles can differ from society to society but what is universal is the fact that both males and females have equal relevance and all our decisions and actions that influence our lives must be in the backdrop of gender equality. It is time we opened ourselves to introspection and recognize the fact that we are a gender-biased society, at all levels, and that we must begin to focus on the values of gender parity in our homes. There can be no better place for moral and ethical education than home and the best student for the same is a child, who is completely open to learning what is taught and practiced at home.