Playtime for Boys and Housework for Girls: Training in Gender Roles Begins Early

When an 8-year old boy and his 11-year old older sister are interviewed about their daily activities the gender disparities in division of household chores come to the fore. The story powerfully demonstrates how difficult it is for girls to aspire to the same educational attainments as boys, to this day.

The story powerfully demonstrates how difficult it is for girls to aspire to the same educational attainments as boys, to this day.

11-year-old Khushboo starts her day at 5 am everyday he cooks, cleans and takes care of her younger siblings before going to school and has a host of tasks in the evening which leaves her with no spare time to play. Her 8-year-old brother leads a comparatively free existence: his day being divided into school time and play time - with no chores time at all. But this is not where the disparity ends: Khushboo gets to eat only dry rotis (flatbreads) for her breakfast while her male siblings also get to drink an accompanying glass of milk.

Khushboo’s aspirations of becoming a qualified doctor is exactly the same as that of her brother. But are we giving her even close to a fighting chance?

Why are the aspirations of young girls’ treated so differently from those of young boys? Gender discrimination is normalised and perpetuated through our families and unless we are able to transform our private spaces to more gender equal ones, we can never end sexsim and discrimination in public arenas.

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