Gender is one of the most significant factors influencing human development from conception to death, particularly in Indian civilisation. This factor comes into play even when parenting. Why is it so important in Indian society, you may ask? Well, we a collectivistic culture have set roles for males and females.
These roles have long been embedded in Indian society, with women serving as primary carers and men serving as breadwinners. However, when times change, it is necessary to question and challenge these set roles. Gender roles are the cultural expectations and standards allocated to people based on gender. When this intersects with parenting, it can have a significant impact on the child’s formative years. It has an impact on their values, beliefs, and general development.
Understanding The Traditional Female Roles
Women have historically been assigned the position of primary carers in Indian society. They are supposed to be in charge of nurturing and rearing children, as well as guaranteeing their well-being and handling household issues.
From infancy to puberty, women are expected to offer physical care, emotional support, and guidance to their children. They are in charge of tasks such as feeding, bathing, and consoling the child, as well as educating and instilling values in them.
Women are frequently in charge of home chores such as cooking, cleaning, and household organisation. They often take care of ageing parents, in-laws, and other relatives in addition to their family. All of this adds to their responsibilities and places more demands on their time and energy.
But Where Does This Come From?
Girls are socialised from a young age to believe that their primary function in life is to become brides and mothers. The role of women as primary carers in Indian society is heavily impacted by cultural and societal conventions. Indian society has traditionally followed a patriarchal system in which men hold dominating positions and decide household decisions.
But why so? Gender stereotypes reinforce the notion that women are inherently more loving, compassionate, and suited to caregiving responsibilities. These misconceptions impede women’s prospects for personal and professional development outside of the home.
Coming To The Roles Of Men As Breadwinners
Men have traditionally been assigned the duty of breadwinners in traditional Indian society, responsible for providing financial support to their families.
Men are expected to be the primary breadwinners and to shoulder the majority of the family’s financial obligations. They are taught from an early age that their major responsibility is to care for their families. This expectation is based on the assumption that males have the required talents and competencies to acquire stable jobs and financial stability. Society places a high value on financial achievement and material wealth.
Men are also required to support not just their immediate family but also their extended family. This includes contributing financially to the upbringing and education of siblings, parents, and other relatives in need.
Men often experience little involvement in parenting as a result of established gender roles and economic expectations. All of this leaves them with little time and energy to actively participate in parental tasks.
What Are The Effects Of This?
Traditional gender norms in Indian society have significant psychological consequences on women, particularly in the context of parenthood.
Women are frequently overwhelmed and stressed by the substantial caring responsibilities they require. Juggling various obligations and continuously caring for the demands of children and the family can leave women emotionally exhausted. Caregiving responsibilities frequently leave women with little time for themselves, resulting in a lack of personal time and self-care. This may lead to more feelings of exhaustion and a general lack of well-being.
It frequently prevents women from pursuing and progressing in their careers. Because of cultural expectations, women’s personal hopes and goals may take a backseat.
Let’s Look At The Impact on Children’s Development
Children may internalise and perpetuate stereotypes and biases if their parents firmly adhere to established gender norms. They may develop limited notions of gender roles as they grow older, considering specific tasks or professions as solely masculine or female. This inhibits their potential to explore varied interests and create a well-rounded skill set.
Traditional parenting roles can reinforce the idea that certain qualities or behaviours are associated with specific genders. Children may miss out on learning about different parenting styles, which could offer them a more rounded perspective on gender roles, relationships, and emotional expression.
Overall, understanding how traditional gender roles affect children’s development allows us to recognise the need for more inclusive and diverse parenting practices.