A textbook, purportedly an ICSE board one meant for class 3 students, set an example by dedicating a chapter to challenging gender roles. Titled “Changing roles of boys and girls", a photo of the chapter was shared by entrepreneur Mamta Sharma Das on Facebook. The learning outcomes of the lesson highlight the roles that boys and girls are expected to play both inside the house and outside, that the roles played by men and women in society are changing and that being a boy or a girl is not a barrier for any occupation. The page shows a photograph of a child with coloured hair and another of one playing football. It then discusses how many people have been conditioned to assume that the first child is a girl and the latter is a boy because of gender roles that expect them to be inclined towards one or the other thing.
“In class three social science book. Sigh! The world is changing for good. #soproud!" Das wrote on Facebook.
The commenters hailed the lesson as a welcome change. “That’s truly awesome…only worry is that these changes should not remain limited to the theoretical expressions…may our next gen truly live these changes in practicality as well," one Facebook user commented. One user attempted to disagree with a regressive comment on how “kids that young don’t need indoctrination in gender fluidity", but was slammed by others. One user wrote back: “What is the right age then to reveal to kids that what they had been taught about gender throughout their life was actually wrong and that the truth is that gender isn’t binary?"
While this lesson set a positive example, another textbook drew severe criticism on social media recently. A college-level sociology textbook has come under heavy scrutiny from netizens for allegedly justifying the practice of dowry. In what seems to be a justification of dowry, the book lists a few “advantages" of the practice. The first point states that the practice of dowry is helpful in establishing new households with gifts like cots, mattresses, TV, fan, and others. It also calls dowry part of the share of the girl in her parents’ property.