Gender neutrality is the latest parenting fad, but have things really changed?

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I had visited my family doctor last evening and there was something she said that kept running on my mind.

Today, just like any other day, I started my day by giving a goodbye kiss to my daughter and left for a hectic day at work. As I was listening to my favourite song Azadiyaan from the movie Udaan I realized that something was really bothering me.

I knew at once what it was. I had visited my family doctor last evening and there was something she said that kept running on my mind.

During the course of the conversation, I had told her about my daughter being a fussy eater, to which the doctor said, "You should teach her to eat everything, after all, she is a girl and will have to manage and compromise later in life. This fussy and picky attitude is no good."

While it is definitely good to teach her to eat everything, the reason that she gave me appalled me. What did she mean by ‘after all she is a girl and will have to manage and compromise later in life' ?

Making it equal

I remember once when my daughter, who is just 2, was playing and a small boy started pushing her. Initially, she ignored it but then turned around and pushed him back. The boy's mother also saw the whole incident and gave me a dirty look, almost telling me to teach my girl some manners. In my mind, I smiled to myself and was proud that my daughter instinctively was learning to give back.

Why should my daughter do something or not do something because she is a girl?

I don’t want her to be raised in a society which has different rules for a girl. Aren't we getting progressive and hasn’t gender neutrality become the new fad? But have things really changed? I doubt it. I have had close friends confiding during pregnancy that they want a boy, because it will freak them out if the girl doesn’t return home on time. They sincerely felt that in the case of boys there is nothing to bother at all.

I have been blessed to have very encouraging parents who let me do what I wanted, with my mother always telling me ‘You are no less than anyone.’ It has made me a strong woman today and that is what I want to implant in my daughter. And I believe all parents of daughters or sons should also teach their children a very important value - that of ‘equality’.

It's not about your gender, it's about what you want...

You are no lesser or greater just because you are a boy or girl. Each one of us is equal and can do or achieve anything we want to. If we all collectively work on this value, the forthcoming generation might think differently and maybe one day the word inequality in terms of gender bias will not exist anymore.

I would like to end this write up with my favourite song that I started this note with:

Subah ki kirnon ko rokein jo salaakhein hai kahan

Jo khayaalon pe pehre daale woh aankhein hai kahan

Par khulne ki deri hai parinde udh ke choomenge

Aasman aasman aasman...

Read: Why I am teaching my daughters to fight it out!

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