Notes of Chapter 4 Growing up as Boys and Girls Class 7th Civics

Growing up in Samoa in the 1920s

• The Samoan Islands are part of a large group of small islands in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean.

• In the 1920s, according to research reports on Samoan society, children did not go to school.

• Older children, often as young as five years old, took over this responsibility.

• By the time a boy was about nine years old, he joined the older boys in learning outdoor jobs like fishing and planting coconuts. 

• Girls had to continue looking after small children or do errands for adults till they were teenagers.

• After the age of fourteen or so, girls also went on fishing trips, worked in the plantations, learnt how to weave baskets.

Growing up male in Madhya Pradesh in the 1960s

• From Class VI onwards, boys and girls went to separate schools. 

• The girl’s school had a central courtyard where they played in seclusion and safety from the world outside. 

• Boys’ school did not have separate enclosures.

• The boys used the streets as a place to stand around idling, to play, to try out tricks with their bicycles.

• The girls always went in groups because they also carried fears of being teased or attacked.

Distinctions between boys and girls

• Societies make clear distinctions between boys and girls from an early age.

• Boys are usually given cars to play with and girls dolls.

• This difference is created in the smallest and most everyday things such as how girls must dress, what games boys should play, how girls need to talk softly or boys need to be tough.

• In most societies, the roles men and women play or the work they do, are not valued equally.

Valuing housework

• The main responsibility for housework and care-giving tasks is done by the women.

• For this they does not have to be paid for, thus, society devalues this work.

Lives of domestic workers

• Most domestic workers are women.

• Wages paid are low as domestic work is not regarded as valuable.

• Housework requires a lot of physical labour and is time consuming.

• In rural areas, fetching water and carrying firewood are strenuous and physically demanding activities.

Women’s work and equality

• The inequality between men and women has to be dealt with through actions not just at the level of the individual or the family but also by the government.

• The Constitution says that being male or female should not become a reason for discrimination.

• The government is, therefore, committed to understanding the reasons for this and taking positive steps to remedy the situation.

• The government has set up anganwadis or child-care centres in several villages in the country and has passed laws that make it mandatory for organisations that have more than 30 women employees to provide crèche facilities.

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