Here’s how I am raising a son who truly respects women

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​How to make your son respect women

We teach our daughters to fight against gender stereotypes but do we teach our sons the same? Though our society is embracing concepts like feminism, gender equality and women’s rights but we cannot ignore the fact that a large section still breeds misogyny and sexism. Every day, we hear horrendous stories of women being raped or incidents of sexual harassment at workplace or news about female foeticide. Instead of lecturing our daughters on how to be safe, we need to discuss these issues openly with our sons as well and teach them to view these subjects with the right lens. As journalist and social political activist Gloria Steinem has rightly said, “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” 

2/7 ​I want him to have female role models

“Parenting is a tricky job. I want to teach my son to respect women without sounding like a preacher. My eight-year-old son aspires to be an astronaut in future. Instead of just sharing the inspiring stories of male astronauts, I make him google about female astronauts like Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Panya Williams as well. In fact, we together read about women who are excelling in different fields and this helps to make him realise women can do all the things that men can.” Vikas Sharma, entrepreneur

3/7​ Her consent matters the most

“My son is 16 years old and has two girl best friends. They all are quite close friends and hang-out together almost every day. I have told him to ask for their consent for every small thing they do together. Whether it is borrowing her pen, going for a movie or hugging her, ask her if she is comfortable with it and then only proceed ahead. I am teaching him to ask for a girl’s consent in everything they do together.” Abha Dubey, a teacher

4/7 ​I think before I speak

“We use certain phrases in our daily life without realising that they are big time sexist comments. For instance, statements like ‘don’t cry like a girl’, ‘why you are behaving like a girl’, ‘boys are better than girls’ etc. cast a wrong impression on kids. Needless to say, my son would end up saying the same to others if I don’t refrain from using them right now.” Smita Mishra, media professional

5/7​ Treat them the way you want me to be treated

“My son is in his late teens and making his own perceptions about everything. When it comes to treating women, I ask him to treat them in the same manner he would like me to be treated in that situation. If someone passes a lewd comment at me, he would surely speak up against it, and I expect him to do the same for his female friends as well.” Nidhi Gupta Kapoor, homemaker

6/7​ I try to lead by example

“I teach my son something every day about gender equality and try to walk the talk. I help my wife in every household chore and teach him that no work should be labelled ‘just for woman’. The other day, he returned from school and declared that only girls can wear pink colour. I corrected him immediately, and explained that anyone can wear any colour; it’s a personal choice. A few days back, he opined that girls love colouring and boys love football. I had a candid conversation with him that while choosing a hobby one need not consider his or her gender. I wish he corrects his friends in school when they make such comments.” Rakesh Pandey, CA

7/7​ We discuss derogatory memes and television advertisements

“Like every kid, my son spends a lot of time on social media and watching television. Unfortunately, he comes across several memes, comments and advertisements that are sexist and derogatory for women. I talk to him about why they present woman in wrong light and must not be encouraged by us. Recently, we discussed about a meme on Facebook that was body shaming women. We also discussed about another meme that was depicting a few woman and asked people to tag their male friends who would get married to them.” Pankaj Das, software engineer

Source: Times of India