The importance of raising and educating girls and boys with a gender perspective

Today’s girls, boys and adolescents grow up in a different context compared to previous years: although machismo and the patriarchal model are still in force, they are also questioned and reviewed; there is a renewed feminist awareness and many regulations, such as the Micaela Law, seek to shed light on the historical inequalities of women and LGTBIQ+ in relation to men and on the need for a social perspective with a gender perspective. However, the femicide figures continue to be scandalous, which shows that beyond the progress, we must continue working on a cultural change in the short and medium term that is focused on the primary prevention of violence and that seeks to modify cultural patterns. that they have allowed it to perpetuate.

It is then when the way in which we raise and educate girls and boys acquires a relevant role, as it is what allows us to continue disarming old practices that promote gender inequality, stereotypes and power relations, mostly favorable to men and discriminatory. towards women and diversities.

Although there are no formulas for educating childhoods free of machismo, nor is it an easy task -because we ourselves will have to overcome our own daily micro-machismo-, it is possible to think of a model that promotes equality, sorority, affection, respect and diversity.

Femicides, which are the most extreme forms of violence, have a very high degree of social rejection, but this does not happen with the most invisible and naturalized forms, such as sexist and macho gestures, some of them very subtle and daily, which perpetuate the roles of gender. Precisely, on that it is possible to work in early childhood from our homes. Some very common examples are those that can be seen in many homes, where domestic chores are carried out by women and men are considered, at most, to “help”.

The way to continue disarming these stereotypes is based on daily and concrete events, for example, not assuming that it will be my daughter who is going to help me clear the table or that the man is going to go to the sofa with his father. while we make coffee. Let them see that their father also takes care of the care tasks, cooking and that there are no things for girls and other things for boys, also when it comes to choosing sports, toys, clothes, music or even colors for decorate the room In all aspects we may be putting some bias and we must be attentive, in order to be able to discuss it and problematize it in any case.

The representations about what it is to be a woman and what it is to be a man are cultural constructions that are transmitted from the earliest years. In this sense, it is not only from the family that the transmission of new perspectives must take place: the school is also a fundamental actor, which is why a law such as Comprehensive Sexual Education (ESI) becomes so important.

This standard seeks to break stereotypes and have a gender perspective. ESI is much more than sexual education, since it addresses issues that have to do with rights, the autonomy of bodies, the gender perspective and diversity. That is, with all issues that have to do with the prevention of gender-based violence.

We must not lose sight of the fact that the school is the gateway to other rights and that, as explained by Andrea Quaranta, a lawyer and technician in Minority and Family, a collaborator with the Micaela García La Negra Foundation, “80% of sexual abuses occur in homes, so we cannot trust that these same homes are the ones that help detect sexual abuse or violence”.

That girls and boys learn thanks to ESI that their private parts are called the vulva and penis, and that no one can touch them, or that if they are bothered they can notify them, helped to detect many cases of sexual abuse early. At the same time, it allowed girls and boys who had been abused perhaps for years, to tell what they were experiencing.

However, 16 years after the enactment of this law, it still does not reach all the girls and boys in the country and there is still resistance from certain sectors of society and the State itself.

Evidence shows that ESI, when properly applied, can delay the beginning of sexual relations, helps to take care of one’s own body and that of others, and allows for the recognition of violent courtships or violence carried out by one of the members of the family group. But it also helps girls and boys to live their emotions in a different way and to talk about what is happening to them; to reflect on affective relationships and problematizes the practices that lead to inequality.

Just as we believe that by training State agents the Micaela Law can save lives, as it would have saved Micaela’s, all citizens have to question our daily actions in order to begin to modify them and change reality. Although it may seem far away, cultural change and education with a gender perspective are one of the most important tools for the eradication of gender-based violence.

Andrea Lescano is the mother of Micaela García, a victim of femicide that gave its name to Law No. 27,499. She is a trainer in Micaela Law and president of the Micaela García “La Negra” Foundation.

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  • The importance of raising and educating girls and boys with a gender perspective