Feminists across the world are envisioning an egalitarian world where people from all the genders get opportunities to prove their mettle and help the society flourish. The realization of the dream, however, depends on how parents choose to raise their sons. Melinda Gates, philanthropist and wife of Microsoft Founder Bill Gates penned an essay for TIME to talk about her experiences of raising her feminist son, Rory Gates.
The following are the 5 takeaways from Melinda Gates’s essay:
1. My parents taught me that my sister and I could do anything our brothers could, but gender equality wasn’t exactly the kind of thing we talked about around the dinner table. They were more focused on giving us the confidence to fly than discussing the barriers that might hold us back.
2. We (Bill and she) decided over time that, for the sake of our son as well as our daughters, we were going to be a family that readily talks about gender equality at the dinner table.
3. I was also disappointed to notice that I often held our daughters to a much higher standard than our son when it came to keeping their rooms clean. These are little things, but they’re also exactly the kinds of unconscious behaviors that, over time, contribute to societal expectations that men should do the heavy lifting, and women should handle the housework. To me, the fact that we haven’t always managed to keep these biases out of even our own household underscores how important it is to teach kids to recognize them and call them out when they see them.
4. My son told me he thinks that standing up to unfair norms is nothing more than exactly what men everywhere should be doing. Yes, he recognizes that the more entrenched the norms, the more courage it takes to confront them. But he also believes that it’s a universal responsibility and one that he’s already striving to uphold in his own life.
5. I’m optimistic about what the next 18 years will bring all of us as these young men grow up to become equal partners in their households, champions for women in workplace and architects of a better, more equitable future for their own sons and daughters.
Charvi Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV