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,