The International Women’s Day celebration is a global event to honor and recognize female achievements and decades of progress. But it’s also an opportunity to pause and consider how far we still have to go. Achieving total gender equity, particularly in the home and the workplace remains among the most critical issues facing women today.
The idea of equity means telling the truth about the facts in terms of how women’s daily lives and opportunities compare to men’s. We know that men and women alike should be treated fairly; however, there is often a wide gap between what is perceived as “fair” and the realities for men and women in access to wealth, work, family, and justice.
One way to begin the change of improving gender inequity starts within the home. We can make changes to show our children the importance of fighting for what is right and how every individual has the power to make a difference. Take your ideas and bond with your children while you work together to make changes. How can we begin to bridge this gap? Here are some ideas to get your family started:
1. Look at your household structure. Take the time to understand and recognize the implicit gender roles assigned to men and women in the home and out. Discuss with your partner and children how an unequal power structure may exist. Harvard Business Review shared that men who do their fair share of chores and childcare improve equality in their homes.¹ What does your current power structure look like?
2. Reexamine perceptions. Reflect on how childcare, marital responsibilities, and household duties are seen in your family or community. Think of ways we can adjust them to meet everyone’s needs better. Review your own biases you’ve made over the years. The problem is that these biases become ingrained and can be extremely hard to break free from. But, if we are aware of them, we can do more to counteract them.² Focus on making changes toward gender equality with your family.
3. Speak up. Have conversations with your partner and children to discuss the equity gap and explore ways you can work together to create a balanced home life. What changes would you like to make to improve gender equality within your household?
4. Become an advocate. Amplify your voice and help create societal change by advocating for policy changes and legislation to improve gender equity. Show your partner and your family the importance of equality. Look within your community on how to help and be their voice. Sit with your family to come up with ideas to improve gender inequality!
5. Embrace diversity and have open conversations about gender roles and stereotypes. Put in the effort to be open and honest with your children and yourselves about gender inequality. Learn more about it and how you can help, and have open conversations to get ideas flowing. Discuss ways you can help improve the gap each day and what you can each do as individuals to make a difference. You can share these accomplishments with your family members. Celebrate together!
6. Parents and children of all genders should share housework and other responsibilities. An excellent way to begin closing the gap of gender inequality can start within the home. Raise your children to help with all chores and tasks, regardless of their gender. Boys cooking and girls mowing, for example. Get the entire family involved, whether you are cleaning or building a shed!
7. Set rules for healthy communication about gender roles and expectations. It is essential to understand that our children will be exposed to thoughts about gender. For instance, boys don’t sew, and girls don’t change the oil in their cars. Establish open, healthy communication to continue improving gender inequality inside and outside your home.
8. Encourage children to challenge gender roles and embrace their goals and interests. It is essential to support your children to have thoughts of their own, their own likes and interests. Please encourage them to follow whatever they enjoy without putting gender stereotypes on them. Giving them this freedom is a tremendous gift to not only them but making a difference as well. They will grow to help close the gender inequality gap and hopefully help teach others.
It is up to all of us–individuals, families, and communities–to create equitable homes to make changes for the equality gap. On International Women’s Day, let’s recognize the equity gaps and commit to taking concrete steps to bridge these gaps. We can take actionable steps such as lobbying for gender equality laws, mentoring female leaders, and encouraging equal pay for equal work. Let us also take the time to recognize and celebrate the successes we have seen in advancing women’s rights and creating a more just and equal world for all. Together, we can make a real, lasting change toward gender equality.
¹ “Gender Equity Starts in the Home.” Harvard Business Review, February 1, 2021. https://hbr.org/2020/05/gender-equity-starts-in-the-home.
² User, Guest. “5 Tips for Preventing and Reducing Gender Bias.” Making Caring Common. Making Caring Common, September 22, 2022. https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/resources-for-families/5-tips-for-preventing-and-reducing-gender-bias.