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Plan International works closely with women and girls to develop their agency. Jeanne, a welder from Benin, is one example of how our programming encourages women to choose their own careers and develop skills that can sometimes challenge traditional gender roles in their communities.
Home is where the heart is. From the moment babies are born, their ased sex male or female immediately begins to shape how they should be treated, what opportunities they should receive or how they should behave according to dominant gender stereotypes in their society. Based on their external environment, children learn very Dominant females stories from as young as 9 months old in some cases that boys and girls are different — they have their own colours, toys, abilities and particular interests. For example, most societies expect females to behave in a submissive, dependent and emotional way while males are expected to be strong, independent and stoic.
The most damaging impact of restrictive gender norms is that they hurt everyone — people are expected to conform to rigid ideas which limit the spaces and the behaviours they may wish to participate in because it may not be an acceptable gender norm for their ased sex. Gendered norms also result in girls and women experiencing violence, harassment and struggling to receive equal pay and opportunities while boys and men experience higher rates of substance abuse and completed suicide.
But these widespread ideas about what it means to be a woman, girl, man or boy can be tackled at home by working with parents to help identify and counter dominant gender norms.
When men and women are equal partners in the household, children tend to benefit. Without a doubt, the most ificant influence on gender role development occurs within the family setting, with parents modelling and passing on to their children their own beliefs about gender.
In many patriarchal societies there is an idea that boys are preferable to girls. According to research conducted in North America; families are more likely to continue having children if they only have daughters versus if they only have sons — indicating that there is a preference to have male children in the family. And in developing countries, where millions live below the poverty line, parents with limited financial resources tend to favour having boys due to a myriad of gender related reasons:.
As part of our maternal, newborn, and child healthcare programming, we work with fathers to take an active role in supporting women during pregnancy, childbirth and in the care of newborns. Beliefs about the value of boys versus girls are commonly reflected in the way parents treat their children.
For example, the gendered division of household work is accepted almost everywhere. Boys are more likely than girls to have maintenance chores like mowing the lawn or painting, while girls are given Dominant females stories chores like cooking and cleaning.
This segregation of household labour tells children that they are expected to take on different roles based on their gender. All humans — regardless of gender — are guaranteed the same fundamental human rights. In fact, fathers who take on an active role in childcare and domestic labour positively influence their children by showing that the adult male role can be nurturing.
This positive role modelling helps boys become better husbands, fathers, brothers and friends to girls and women. At the same time, it positively impacts the self-esteem of young girls and reinforces that both genders are equal. Additionally, mothers who work and take on a financial provider role in the family also help break down stereotypes for their children — especially their daughters — and challenge ideas about the Dominant females stories female role.
However, parents who are conscious of prevailing gender norms within their society have an important opportunity to challenge gender roles, break stereotypes and educate their children. When everyone plays a part in standing up for gender equality, we can create a just and equal world where no one is held back by restrictive gender norms. Gender inequality continues to grant men and boys with more rights, privileges and opportunities to become key decision makers and influencers.
Girls and women, however, are denied opportunities to develop themselves and improve their social conditions — simply because they are female. And in many developing countries, girls and women are not free to exercise basic human rights like education, health and protection — this further perpetuates serious global issues such as intergenerational cycles of povertychild early and forced marriagegender-based violence and high maternal and newborn mortality rates. Our programming goes beyond improving the condition of women and girls — we seek to improve their social position within their communities.
Learn more about our gender transformative programming here. Desiree Buitenbos. Reading Time: 5 minutes.
Desiree Buitenbos popularThought Provoking.Dominant females stories
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Female Domination - Short Stories: Vol I