Kerala govt introduces gender neutrality concept in school textbooks

Thiruvananthapuram: In a bid to create a gender neutral outlook among children, the Kerala government has introduced text books with pictorial representations of kitchens where husbands and other family members are also involved in cooking and other family members are also involved in cooking and other kitchen work along with wives, breaking the usual depiction of only women in the kitchen in textbooks.

The new initiative is yet another move by the CPM government in Kerala to ensure gender neutral education in Kerala. Already the state government is trying to phase out boys only and girls only schools by converting all schools to mixed schools in a phased manner.

State general education minister V Sivankutty shared the picture of the new text book for class three on the social media page as schools are reopening on Monday after summer vacation. It has gone viral on social media with netizens applauding the initiative by stating that the new illustration in the text book will help in eliminating the stereotype representation of kitchen as a place only for women.

The pictorial representation of a kitchen given in the Malayalam medium text book shows the husband sitting on the kitchen floor and scraping coconut, while in the English medium book the husband could be seen cooking snacks for children. Other family members, including children are also involved in some or other activities in the kitchen. The students will have to write their observations on the activities in a kitchen by thinking about the scenario at their homes.

The CPM government in Kerala had made many moves that received much attention. Last year the state introduced supplementary textbooks for higher secondary students by including portions like Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and Mughal kingdom that were removed from NCERT textbooks.