KOZHIKODE: The five-member panel which looked into the gender issues in anganwadi textbooks has recommended to include bappa, umma, achayan, ammachi, ikka, chachan, etc in addition to achan, amma, chettan and chechi.
"Ours is a secular society. Hence we need to introduce words of family members of different religions and castes to the anganwadi students," said the panel in its 48-page report, which The New Indian Express has accessed.
The report which was handed over to the woman and child development minister on Friday had found glaring gender issues in both its textbooks - Ankanapoomazha for children and Ankanathaimaavu for teachers. The panel criticised the very preface of Ankanathaimaavu which hails joint family culture over nuclear family.
"It says that when both man and woman started working in a nuclear family, it affected children and their companionship was restricted to TV. Such wrong notions should be wiped out of the minds of teachers. Children may think that working mothers and fathers are committing some offence," the panel observed.
It also recommends to incorporate names of women leaders like Sarojini Naidu, Annie Besant, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and Captain Lakshmi while talking about Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose to do away with the notion in the minds of children that women were sitting idle at home when men were in the threshold of freedom fight.
Not 'mom & child' but 'child, father & mother'
The panel also suggests replacing the most common stereotype notion of 'mother and child' with 'child, father and mother' so that the responsibility of the child could be equally shared between the parents. It also found that in pictures, girls were often portrayed as in the dressing room, smelling flowers, arranging flower carpet, etc while boys were shown indulging in sports activities.
"All strength and rational power is attributed to boys, and romantic and emotional image to girls. This should be changed. We need to present warrior-type girls," the panel suggests. It has also found body shaming, cosmetic bias and non-presence of women in public places in the textbooks.