Boys and Girls
Question 1: Make a list of toys and games that boys typically play and another for girls. If there is a difference between the two lists, can you think of some reasons why this is so? Does this have any relationship to the roles children have to play as adults?
- Games played by boys: cricket, football, toy cars, bows and arrows, etc.
- Games played by girls: dolls, kitchen set, badminton, hopscotch, etc.
The difference between the two lists is because of prejudices in the society. Most of the people do not consider girls and boys are equal. This has a deep relationship with the role which boys and girls have to assume when they grow up. Men are usually supposed to go out to earn money. Women are supposed to stay at home to take household work and to take care of children.
Question 2: Consider the following statements:
- Household work is invisible and unpaid work
- Housework is physically demanding.
- Housework is time consuming.
Write in your own words what is meant by the terms invisible, physically demanding, and time consuming? Give one example of each based on the household tasks undertaken by women in your home.
Answer: Invisible: It is a work which is noticed only when it is not done. In other words, if household work like cleaning, organizing things etc is not done properly, the house looks as if it has been hit by a hurricane.
Physically Demanding: It requires a lot of effort to do household work. Work like sweeping, mopping, washing clothes etc is very strenuous.
Time Consuming: Household work takes up a lot of time of women. It hence leaves them with very less time for leisure. Cleaning the house, attending to children etc are non-stop tasks.
Question 3: Are the statements given alongside true or false? Support your answer with the use of an example
(a) All societies do not think similarly about the roles that boys and girls play.
Answer: True – the roles that men and women play are not valued equally. Most of the societies devalue the role of women. In some places like Samoa it is the reverse i.e. most of the cooking (which is otherwise considered a female’s job) is done by boys. Hence no society thinks similarly about the roles boys and girls play.
(b) Our society does not make distinctions between boys and girls when they are growing up.Answer: False – Right from toys that children play with, boys and girls are treated differently. Boys are given cars and girls are given dolls to play with. Even the way of dressing and mannerisms expected of a girl and boy; are very different.
(c) Women who stay at home do not work.Answer: False – women are continuously engaged in household work with no time for leisure. If a household woman goes for strike their quantum of work would be understood by the family members.
(d) The work that women do is less valued than that of men.
Answer: True – It is considered that household work comes naturally to women and hence they need not be paid for it. It is devalued.
Question 4: If you have someone working as a domestic help in your house or locality talk to her and find out a little bit more about her life – Who are her family members? Where is her home? How many hours does she work? How much does she get paid? Write a small story based on these details.
Answer: Latika is the name of the domestic help who works at my house. She lives in a slum that is across the road from our apartment. Six people live in her small tenement: she, her husband and their four children. The room serves as bedroom as well as kitchen. There are about one thousand people living in that slum with only five toilets for all of them. Latika’s husband makes rounds in the market to repair zippers for a nominal charge. Most of the money from what he earns is spent on booze. Sometimes, he beats his wife and children. Latika’s day begins at five in the morning. After finishing mopping and cleaning in seven eight houses, she goes back to her house at around one at noon. Then she does the cleaning of her room and cooks for her children. She goes to the apartment at around 4 in the afternoon for her second shift of the day. She finally calls it a day at 10 pm at night. A tired Latika reaches her house only after that. She manages to earn eight to ten thousand rupees in a month. Out of that, three thousand rupees are spent on house rent.