Since the time I have completed my school education, I was asked to apply for the Direct Institute for Education and Training (DIET) exam because that would be the most ‘convenient’ job for a girl (or a mother-to-be). Being the little rebel that I am, whenever I was asked to do something specifically because of my gender, I refused even if the option might actually have been a good one for me. Therefore, I never wanted to consider that as a career option for myself.
Then began the obvious pestering from everyone and I was asked to be ‘practical’, which meant to consider future prospects and how I would be able to manage my home and my work once I get married. I chose Economics Honours as my undergraduate course and people around me had to drop their weapons (at least for some time). I remember that my elder brother wasn’t ever asked to be a teacher even though he used to help me with my homework. Why did everyone underestimate his teaching skills?
I was asked to be ‘practical’, meaning consider future prospects and how to manage home and work once I get married.
After completing my post graduation, everything came back to square one because I am now eligible to appear for the National Eligibility Test (NET) exam for becoming a university assistant professor or professor. The doors to becoming a teacher are again open for me, but for a higher level of education this time. I loved my subject and wanted to pursue it but the forceful recognition of it through the line of teaching wasn’t making anything easier for me.
Is it because women are considered ‘naturally’ good with kids or is it because the general working hours of an educational institution allow one to spend quality time at home? I hope you can spot the outright sexism which still exists today, passes itself off as not harmful and considered to be a ‘helpful’ career option for women.
No, I am not against the profession of teaching and neither do I look down on it. I respect all my teachers in life and their profession from the bottom of my heart. I am thankful to them for choosing this profession. However, asking women to become teachers just so they can have a work-home balance is nothing but reinforcing patriarchy in the garb of modernism.
We seem to assure our daughters that they can go outside and work and be financially independent. But we also do not forget to ask them to come back home on time so that they can cook for their tired husband or look after their old parents. After all, they are women.
It is the essence of humanity to love our families and look after each other. But why does this responsibility unbiasedly fall on the shoulder of women every time? Basically, we are teaching our daughters to be everything – from being financially independent to being a sensitive human being.
But why are we not considering sons to be eligible enough for such life lessons? Why are we not teaching them to be equal partakers of household responsibility? Only when we consider sons responsible enough for household responsibilities, will we be emancipated from subtle sexism involved in asking daughters to take up teaching as a profession.
But why does domestic responsibility unbiasedly fall on the shoulder of women every time?
I hear people around me commenting on equal career opportunities to choose from for men and women these days. It might be true to a certain extent, relative to the older days, and I do want to give credit to changing times.
But if one tries to read between the lines, we can see the subtle sexism in granting those opportunities. In the end, I only want to say that any profession is good enough for anyone who understands it and has the passion for it, while gender is certainly not a deciding factor.
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