It is important to socialize boys and girls without unhealthy gender bias
It is important that parents, schools, and Nigerians raise boys and girls without gender bias.
1. Stop making boys class reps and girls assistants by default. Girls should be given the opportunity to also be class prefects while boys assist. Girls should not always assist if they can actually lead better.
2. Revise your social studies textbooks and stop teaching your students that fathers provide money and mothers cook, clean and wash. The conversation should be open to the fact that roles in marriage differs, and they must not be based on gender.
3. Don’t ever limit your student’s ambition using orthodox gender narratives. It’s okay if a boy wants to be a chef or model. It’s okay if a girl wants to be a mechanical engineer. Don’t sell a gender bias that’ll influence their choice of career.
4. Don’t stop girls from playing soccer if that’s what they want, and don’t ridicule boys who can’t play soccer. Girls are not meant for indoor games. Let them choose the sport they want to engage in no matter how it defies traditional gender roles.
5. Don’t shame boys for ‘letting’ a girl do well and top the class. Things like this should never be said: “You’re not ashamed that a girl came out best in the test”. You’re belittling the girls, and socializing the boys never to accommodate a woman’s excellence.
6. Don’t make ridiculous comments like: “you talk too much like a girl/boy…” “you walk like a boy/girl”. You are imprinting gender stereotypes on their minds, and influencing them to feel that a girl/boy is the yardstick of everything they should never be.
7. Don’t tell your male students to not cry and to man up when they are teary eyed. You are enabling toxic masculinity. It’s okay for boys to cry. Boys are humans, boys have emotions, and boys should be free to express vulnerability.
8. Don’t make jest of a girl with comments like: “you are too stubborn like a boy … you fight too much like a boy” These comments are laced with sexist ideologies that subliminally promote that it’s okay for boys to be unruly and violent, and girls should be demure.
9. It is important to socialize boys and girls without unhealthy gender biases in schools. Schools contribute to the gender disparity in the society. Schools should review their social studies textbooks, and make sure that their teachers are enlightened above orthodox gender biases.
*Written by Solomon Buchi