JAC Board Class 7 Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 4 Growing Up as Boys and Girls
→ Being a boy or a girl is an important part of one’s identity. The roles women play and the work they do are usually valued less than the roles men play and the work they do.
→ Growing Up in Samoa in the 1920s:
- In Samoan society, children did not go to school. Instead, they learnt many things such as how to take care of children or do household work from older children and from adults.
- Young people learn fishing which was a very important activity on the islands. But they learnt these things at different points in their childhood.
- Both boys and girls looked after their younger siblings.
- The time when a boy was about nine years old, he joined the older boys in learning outdoor jobs such as fishing and planting coconuts.
- Girls had to continue looking after small children or do tasks for adults till they were teenagers.
- After attaining the age of fourteen or so, girls also went on fishing trips, worked in the plantations and learnt how to weave baskets.
- In special cooking-houses, cooking was done. Boys were supposed to do most of the work while girls helped with the preparations.
→ Growing Up Male in Madhya Pradesh in the 1960s:
- The following points are taken from a small town scenario in Madhya Pradesh.
- From Class VI onwards, boys and girls went to separate schools.
- The girls’ school was designed very differently from the boys’ school. They had a central courtyard where they played in total seclusion and safety from the outside world. Whereas, the boys’ school had no such courtyard and the playground was just a big space attached, to the school.
- The girls always went in groups because they also carried fears of being teased or attacked. But the boys who used the streets as a place to stand around idling, to play, to try out tricks with their bicycles.
- We realise that societies make clear distinctions and differences between boys and girls. This begins from a very tender and young age. Boys are usually given cars to play with and girls dolls.
- All the ways of telling children that they have specific roles to play when they grow up to be men and women. Hence, how girls must dress, what games boys should play, how girls need to talk softly or boys need to be tough, etc.
- In most societies which includes our own as well, the roles men and women play or the work they do are not valued equally. Men and women do not have the same status.
→ Valuing Housework:
All over the world, the main responsibility for housework and care-giving tasks, such as looking after the family especially children, the elderly and sick members lies with women. Although, the work that women do within the home is not recognised as work and assumed that this is something that comes naturally to women. Hence, they does not have to be paid for and society devalues this work.
→ Lives of Domestic Workers:
- The domestic workers are employed particularly in towns and cities. They do a lot of work such as sweeping and cleaning, washing clothes and dishes, cooking, looking after young children or the elderly people.
- Most domestic workers are women and sometimes even young boys or girls are employed to do this work.
- Wages are low as domestic work does not have much value. They work very hard as well from early morning till night but employers doesn’t give much respect to them.
- In fact, housework actually involves many different tasks and works. Heavy physical work also required to do a number of these tasks. In both rural and urban areas women and girls have to fetch water. In rural areas women and girls carry heavy headloads of firewood as well.
- The work women do is strenuous and physically demanding, these words are actually associate with men normally.
- Another characteristics of housework and care-giving is that we do not recognise that it is very time consuming and have much less time for leisure.
→ Women’s Work and Equality:
- We all know equality is an important principle of our Constitution. The Constitution says that being male or female should not become a reason for discrimination. In reality, inequality between the sexes exists.
- Hence, the Constitution recognises that burden of child-care and housework falls on women and girls and it has an impact on whether girls can attend school or not.
- In many villages in the country, the government has set up anganwadis or child-care centres. The government has passed laws that make it mandatory for organisations that have more than 30 women employees to provide creche facilities. The provision of creches helps many women to take up employment outside the home. It also makes it possible for more girls to attend schools.