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How To Raise Sons Who Believe Women Are Equal To Them

23 Mar 2017

How To Raise Sons Who Believe Women Are Equal To Them


Little boys often grow up thinking they are not only special but also superior to girls. It’s not really their fault, but that of society at large.

Patriarchy is defined as a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. This system brings with it a host of problems, the most obvious being gender inequality. While there is much debate on this subject, what most people don't realize is that patriarchy begins at home. Children are perceptive beings and their notions of gender roles form from birth.

Parents who recognize this and want to restore balance choose to bring their children up differently. However, often the focus goes on girls, pushing them to do more and have no limits. While that has its benefits, it's important to remember that gender equality is something boys need to be taught too. Girls can push forward in the world, but boys play an equally important role. So how does one raise a son who believes in gender equality?

To begin with, you can't lecture a child on gender equality and expect them to understand. Children learn through seeing—so, you must show them gender equality, in the home and around you. If you have a two-parent household, both mother and father should be equally participative in running the home and doing household tasks. No chore should be made gender specific—there should be no rule like cooking and cleaning is mom's job and dad goes out to work.


If you have both a son and daughter, they too should be treated equally. Don't ask your daughter to help you in the kitchen while your son goes out to play. You may not say it out loud, but he's seeing it all.

Raising children should also be an equal partnership between both parents. Too often the mother is expected to do most of it alone, while a father is congratulated if he sees the kids for just an hour or two. A father is just as capable of changing diapers and remembering what needs to be sent to school. Boys tend to see their fathers as role models, so set a good example for them to follow in how you treat your wife and other women around you.

Mothers also play an important role by upholding their self-respect. Let your children know that you are proud of who you are and what you've accomplished. Let them know that you have dreams and aspirations that you're fulfilling and that you won't sacrifice everything to be a wife or mother.

It's important to introspect and understand our own relationship with gender equality. We may think we believe in it, but sometimes we don't see where we are slipping up. We may not say things like “boys don't cry” to our sons, but it's just as bad if we say “don't play like a girl.” What we say and what we do has a deep impact on our children.

Introduce your children to spaces where they can see people fighting for gender equality as they grow up. Participate in women’s empowerment marches with your son, explain to him in an age appropriate way why it's being held. Read books and show movies with strong female protagonists. Expose him to the idea that while we live in a predominantly patriarchal world, there is an alternatives story that needs to be heard as well.

Support women instead of tearing them down and you will see your son do the same.



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Tags: respect, relationship, values, child rearing, women