Feminism Fodder

In this day and age…

I have been running parenting seminars again this month and had a shocking revelation this time around. I am very aware of the gender discrimination between male and female children in the Indian and Middle Eastern cultures through experience and work. But what I didn’t realise or ever encounter was the discrimination that exists in some European cultures. I was assured that they are the ultra-conservative (as I do have a couple of friends of Italian background) who are not that way at all! Even so, it still managed to take me aback.

Most of these parenting seminars are attended by mums (though last year we were fortunate to have a few regular dads). Anyway, a couple of mums revealed that their husbands believe girls shouldn’t go to school overnight camps but that it’s okay for the sons to go. I had to control my tongue to not get on my soapbox about this gender discrimination. The mums talked about it in a very matter-of-fact way and said how they themselves weren’t allowed to do so as kids. The other thing that struck me was when we trying to explain to them about shared responsibilities, my colleague suggested asking husbands to help out in the kitchen as an example and they burst out laughing. They stated that there was no way their husbands would assist in the kitchen. I wondered why.

In this day and age, you think most couples would share responsibilities. Even if say the husband can’t cook, at least they would help with the cleaning or the dishes! I know my dad would help out with the cleaning. And as for not letting daughters go to overnight camps but saying it’s okay for sons…WTF? What century are we living in? And it makes me wonder if the daughters will grow up with the same mentality of not expecting their husbands to assist in the household chores.

I was used to this sort of mentality in India and would voice my opinion strongly against it. And since coming here, I have witnessed it in families I see where the male child is preferred over the female child but mainly in Middle Eastern, Indian, Greek and Asian backgrounds. However, given that it can be in the context of work, unless it is a client of mine that is being impacted, I have to refrain from saying my point of view to the parents who discriminate. Like I said before, in this day and age, I can’t believe there are still people with these views in developed nations like ours.

Until next time,


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  • Reply
    R's Mom
    May 23, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Its surprising na..but infact even I have seen it..one of my friend’s friend..not an Asian..was mentioning how he may find it difficult to send his girls to overnight trips..errr…I found it difficult to believe that honestly!

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler™
      June 3, 2012 at 12:24 am

      It is ridiculous! I have a friend whose parents were like that…at one stage, they wouldn’t even let her go from New Bombay to VT! And she would always say to me how liberal my parents were for being ok with me going all the way to VT 6 days a week for college!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I’m a mother of 2 girls, living in India, and find them more daring and smart than most boys their age. My dad too brought us up (2 daughters) to do things our way – making us self-reliant, independent and confident. We had some unwritten rules of getting back home in time and such, but nothing was imposed on us and we were always on equal footing or perhaps a step ahead of others (boy or girl). I would want to bring up my own two children that way. Too bad a lot of people still display gender-bias!

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler™
      June 3, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Welcome here RGB! Kudos to you in the way you are bringing up your daughters and to your father for bringing you up. Fortunately for me, my parents too were liberal in that they didn’t think we shouldn’t do some things just because we were girls. After all, they were ok to send me to a whole different country at the age of 21 despite what some people had to say about sending a single girl overseas! As you say, sometimes, girls are a step ahead!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

    You haven’t run across eastern Europeans so far? They are worse. A Polish colleague of mine (in another day and age, long ago) mentioned that his wife is expecting and how he wishes that it’s a son who can carry the family name. They wouldn’t try for any more kids if this baby is a boy.

    Cases of domestic violence are fairly common place in all the western countries. I guess that itself tells us about the gender discrimination in the countries. Not to mention discrimination in job, sexual assault, rape etc. Its not as bad as it is in the Asian or middle-eastern countries but it still exist. Not as an exception but as a problem.

    Like it or not, we live in a male dominant world. The gender discrimination exists everywhere. Some times its an overt discrimination, sometimes subtle. But its everywhere.

    Working in a male dominant industry in four different countries with colleagues from every part of the world have made this point very clear to me.

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler™
      June 3, 2012 at 12:32 am

      It must be that Richa…you’ve worked in a male dominant industry whereas I’ve been working in a female dominant one. Hence, the problems I see are mainly with clients. I must admit, I haven’t come across too many eastern Europeans but I knew Greeks for instance were biased towards sons. I’ve dealt with a lot more Greeks and Italians socially and professionally and never saw the bias in the latter until now. And as for DV, I agree that it is a problem that exists everywhere. We still see clients of all backgrounds and socio-economic statuses that can be victims of DV.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Its everywhere , and I had got stories of europeans who do lots of other things too..
    its mad mad world out there


    • Reply
      Psych Babbler™
      June 3, 2012 at 12:53 am

      You’d think that by now given we live in 2012, people’s mindsets would have changed! But some people still seem to be living in the 1800s! Annoys me no end!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    This does not surprise me in the least. We have a long way to go. I guess at your age you would have hoped that things had changed. It must be a surprise. Its pretty horrific isn’t it? However, I love the fact you are doing these seminars. You have a great deal of influence you know. It is wonderful.

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler™
      June 3, 2012 at 1:12 am

      Sigh Lilly…despite being the cynic I am, I still have hope somewhere that maybe people have advanced in their thinking and are not still stuck in the 1800s! I hope I can influence some people…only time will tell…and even then, I probably won’t know.

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