Gender bias is a preference or prejudice towards one gender over the other. Bias can be conscious or unconscious and may manifest in many ways, both subtle and obvious.
Gender inequity is not only learned and accepted in the socialization process that starts at home, but is also present in the school environment from the very early years. Parents and teachers consciously or unconsciously reinforce sex stereotypes.
The foundation for gender identity formation gets established during the pre – school years. By age of three although most children can identify themselves as boys or girls, the support they get or do not get in their pre-school years lays the foundation for the rest of their gender identity formation.
Teachers usually without being aware of it, exhibit gender bias in classroom teaching in three principal ways:
1. reinforcing gender stereotypes
2. maintaining sex separation and
3. treating male and female differently.
So teachers can take a variety of measures to create fair and gender equitable environment for young children. They can:
Reflect on their own Attitudes and Behaviour.
Ensure the environment encourages opportunity for everyone.
Helping children to develop skills for thinking critically and taking action
So as a teacher we can teach our students to be open-minded and to accept people from every background. Teachers are in a powerful position from where they can mobilize the next generation. Awareness can consciously help children to cope and deal with this conflict and respond to intolerance in the real world.
Written by Ms. Niveditha, Assistant Teacher, Sri Sarvajna Public School.