Many of us voice out that female employees are often paid lesser, offer lesser promotions than our male counterparts. We fight and voice out on gender inequality in the workforce. In Ted talks, in social media, in the news but what I feel that we should start off with is gender education for our young ones.

In Asia, being a new mother to a nearly 1-year-old daughter, I was forced to voice out my displeasure whenever someone says something negative being a female in our world.

Like the time, one of my relatives chided me for letting my baby roam around the house naked with only her diaper. Her reasoning was she is a girl so she needs to wear clothes and she will grow up not liking to wear her clothes. Or the time someone went “shame shame” when I was changing her clothes. Body shaming starts when she is even barely 1!

Or the time, my mother casually mentioned that husbands play a crucial role in supporting the family financially. Or even someone said that I am crazy to hope that my daughter will grow up to be a marine biologist or a spokesperson for United Nation. His reasoning, when confronted, was Singapore is too small and such jobs are unrealistic for a female.

And that is how dreams are crushed.

These people are the role models in her life and yet, they started off by not believing in her, belittling her as a female. I know they have no evil intentions and they want the best for her. My stand is that we don’t know what future might bring so que sera sera – whatever will be, will be.

Being in Asia, she is going to grow up facing a lot of criticism. You see, typically in Asia, females are expected to be gentle, ladylike and feminine. Not sporty, not daring and definitely not voicing out your thoughts. From not acting like a lady (she’s very active and she likes to sit with her legs wide open) to voicing out her opinions (she is very opinionated on what she wants), a lot of people are going to be unhappy the way I bring her up.

My parents-in-law are in awe when I allow her to choose her own clothes daily and even when we go shopping for clothes. Instead of a fixed feeding routine, she will hand signal me when she wants to be fed. And instead of confining her in a specific play area, she is allowed to roam the whole house via crawling (kitchen and balcony are the only out-of-bounds areas for obvious reasons). Of course, we did our due diligence as parents to baby proof the whole house.

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I introduce choices at a young age because I want her to know that she always have choices, she needs to be comfortable to choose what she wants and understand that I will respect her choices. She needs to learn that whatever choice she makes, she bears the consequences.

Won’t I spoil her rotten? The choices come with certain limitations. Like I won’t let her choose through her entire wardrobe (we’ll never go out!), but I’ll pick 2 outfits for her to choose. And if she chooses to deck in a blue tee and grey shorts instead of that pink dress, it is okay with me. Blue isn’t just for boys and pink isn’t just for girls. In fact, I have more blue dresses than I have pink ones.

She loves playing with her blocks than her dolls and that’s fine by me too. She will choose her books and toy piano over her teddy bears and I’m ain’t going to stop her.  Someone asked would I mind if she is going to grow up like a tomboy. Not at all! In fact, I went through my teenage years as a tomboy as well. Whether she grows up as a dainty little missus or an active sporty girl, she’s still my precious little one.

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I’m not going to say that fireman and astronaut are for boys, nor am I going to freak out if she starts playing with trucks or pretends to be the prince instead of the princess. I believe in her. And I hope that her role models do too. Grandparents, relatives and teachers play a huge role in showing her what’s right and what’s wrong.

Let her choose, I’ll say. Let her make her choices. At least if she makes mistakes, I’m her safety net. So let her make all the mistakes, challenge the norms, break the gender guidelines when I’m still her protector while I’m still alive.

What are your thoughts? Am I an extreme parent? Please share them with us in the comments below.

If you want to hear more about my little diva, these are just right for you:

How To Balance Between Freelancing & Mommyhood
My Little Diva Is On Her Way To Become The Best Sales Person


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32 replies on “Curb The Gender Differences For Our Next Generation

  1. I have to tell you that I’m proud of you for doing that! I’m sure it’s harder than it sounds there. In America, nobody looks at my son funny for his long hair. (He’s growing it for charity but doesn’t want to tell anyone) Long hair can make a boy look like a girl but I told him it’s his choice. I always have given him choices and not just said this is what you’re doing. He’s now 12 and, I think, pretty good!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Julie, you are a wonderful mother. I’m proud of you too! I totally hate it when people tells me what my daughter should or shouldn’t do. Come on, she’s only 1 years old. Should we curb our children with our own biases and expectations? I don’t see why we should let others tell us what to do, let alone our children. Unless of course, it is illegal. Kudos for sharing your experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up a tomboy and athletic. As I grew older, my perspective changed into the young woman I became but I still enjoyed working on the car with my dad instead of house work. I realized my role was whatever I wanted it to be. God made us in His own image and our talents can vary for His glory. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Laura. I was a tomboy too, love getting into fights with boys when I was young. Just last night, I had someone tell me that if I allow my daughter to be so active, she’ll gonna grow up single and not be able to get married!!! Ridiculous! First of all, I don’t expect her to get marry, of course it is the wishes of many parents but I rather she be single and happy than to be married and abused. And what behavior now is not an indication of what she will be in future.

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  3. I share your beliefs and also am glad you choose the free style education. For me that is right.
    “Let her choose, I’ll say. Let her make her choices. At least if she makes mistakes, I’m her safety net. So let her make all the mistakes, challenge the norms, break the gender guidelines when I’m still her protector while I’m still alive.”
    This is exactly how I was with my boys and even now grown up , I will always be there for them as a safety net and friend and helper.
    It is probably harder for you in Asia as it is here in Europe. Continue what you are doing, you are definitely doing the right thing for your daughter and she will thank you for it one day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, big hugs for you, Ute, my friend. Yes, it is harder in Asia as it is impossible to convince others that we need to watch what we are implying and our words. One Chinese saying kept popping up 打是疼 骂是爱 which means if your parents hit you, means they adore you and if your parents scold you, means they love you. Not entirely wrong but taken literally, it can be seen as we are encouraging violence in our children’s lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is right, I think that saying would not go down well in Europe. There is this phrase “tough love” and sometimes we need to be tough because we love them. You are doing the right thing Kally!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m yet to be a mom but I’m totally cool with your way. You are not an extreme parent. I for one, so much like the choices and mistakes. That’s the only way I learn and whoever gives me a choice, I cherish the person so much because(to me) he/she loves me so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I think we learn more when we make mistakes and when we are given the choice to choose and face up to our consequences.

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  5. Tradition is definitely something that comes up a lot in my culture , “when I was your age ….” , it’s ok for people to voice their opinion but they should also respect your opinion. Loved reading this post you daughter sounds like she will be amazing at whatever she chooses to do !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha. Thank you for sharing this with us. I do have “when I was your age…” over here in Asia as well. It is really ingrained into our minds that the elderly are always correct and we should not question their authority. While respect is upmost important, I believe one shouldn’t blindly listen and execute, not thinking for once if the instructions make any sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes definitely agree with you on not listening blindly , btw I wondered if you could check out my site itssimplereally.wordpress.com ? Please also leave a comment if you are able to relate to anything

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Times are changing. We are not there to create mental cages as parents, but to instill within our offspring the ability to make good choices. Often these choices need to ring true to who they are. Do we instill morals and truth in the process. Yes we do. We are working with an open template. It is their stamp, with our guidance. Them being as true to self as possible will determine how far they will go with their life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this food for thoughts. We feed, we teach and we guide our next generation, at the end of the day, they are the ones who will write the chapters in their stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. In the field of math, men are favored a lot more. During peer reviews, I’ve seen people scoff at a research paper written by a woman without even taking it seriously.

    Personally, gender has never been a factor for me when evaluating research papers. My only requirement is that the paper must be good, and I don’t care who wrote it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I really wish that all people shouldn’t judge others based on silly criteria like gender, ethnicity or anything like that. Unfortunately, the world isn’t always that kind.

        It would take several generations to remove all the bigotries and prejudices that we see today. I don’t believe that this can be fixed with a single social movement. After all, we are talking about ideologies that are firmly ingrained in our society…

        So, I think that those with extreme views on feminism (or any other social issues for that matter) should calm down a bit. People don’t like extreme changes and they will resist violently. I think that making a change little by little yields more productive results.

        We will arrive “there”, where ever it is in the future, and nobody can stop it once it’s time for it to happen. As Victor Hugo put it, “One withstands the invasion of armies; one does not withstand the invasion of ideas.” This has been proven again and again throughout history.

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  8. I think you do a great job. It’s, like with everything, about balance. Give her freedom, but learn her how to be structured too. Maybe, I am old-fashion, but there comes a time a child have to sit with their legs closed. (boys or girls!). But if that child is wearing a skirt or trousers, regardless their gender, I couldn’t care less.
    Open-minded, caring, kind (now how to share, for instance), far more important. But also now when it is time to sit still.
    But I learned the hard way, most important; when the time comes…show her the same respect, you ask of her. Stay open for her own values and principles she gained from you, from her teacher, from friends, from life. And I truly believe, with you as a mother, that will never be an issue 😉
    XxX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spoken as a mother, I love your advice. I believe in striking a fair balance between allowing freedom for creativity and pulling them back for guidance. It’s like flying a kite. I let her trust me as much as I trust her. Haha… as much as I love to, my little diva can never sit still. She’s more of a karate kid than a ballet dancer.

      Liked by 1 person

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