Teach Our Kids About Equality
“Kids don’t come with instructions, but they do come with open minds.” – Dr. Christopher Metzler
How do we teach our kids about equality and gender disparity when adults have not yet mastered? This is a parenting challenge.. Equal pay should be a universal standard, yet women are still fighting to be paid the same rate as their male counterparts. Parents can work toward changing this situation by helping their children recognize how unfair the system is.
We like to think we can shelter our kids from harmful stereotypes and opinions, but the world will eventually reveal itself to them. As this delightful video shows, young children recognize an unfair payment system immediately - and quite naturally protest against it. It’s only when they enter the workforce that the unfair becomes the norm. It is imperative we teach our kids that it isn’t OKAY to for men or women to accept anything less than pay equality.
Although women are now paid $0.10 more than they were 20 years ago, their compensation is still not equal to men’s. Most women make $0.80 cents for every $1.00 a man brings home. This is a HUGE disparity and no longer tolerable.
Here are some activities and discussions you can engage in with your kids to educate and model equality in your home and to establish values and expectations that they will carry forward into their workplaces and homes as adults.
Talk about it:
What is a Gender Stereotype?
Gender stereotypes affect men and women in every sphere of life and are huge obstacles to gender equality. Recognize such stereotypes and avoid them.
Share House Work and Responsibilities:
Make sure both partners get involved in the housework and teach kiddos to assist in small ways. Sharing responsibilities ensures the work doesn’t fall only on one person and instills the value of gender equality and essential life skills kids.
Be an Equal Partner:
Take paternity leave and care for your kids. Divide childcare responsibilities with your partner and ensure both of you get to spend an equal amount of time with the kids. Not always easy - but they need both parents on deck.
Let Them Play:
People often ask for gender-specific toys because we make the assumption that a girl doesn’t want to play with nerf guns and boys don’t want to dress up and role play. What messages are we sending to kids when we give them these gender-specific toys? Let your kids select toys of their choice rather than forcing them to pick based on their gender.
Don’t Assign Chores by Gender:
Let the girls mow the lawn and the boys do the dishes. Boys can learn to change sheets (though really hard to watch) and girls can learn to use tools and help fix things. Eventually they will find what they are good at and that is where they begin to blossom and excel. If we keep them in their pink and blue boxes forever they miss being exposed to possibility and equality.
It’s never too early to start talking about equality with your children. Find opportunities in everyday life for teachable moments.