Sensitivity is important. In every walk of life that involves interactions with others or any form of interpersonal relatedness, the ability to be able to handle situations and conversations sensitively, while being cognizant of the other individuals’ thoughts, feelings and emotions goes a long way. But gender sensitivity goes far and beyond just being sensitive to an individual.

Gender sensitivity is…

An aspect that requires great focus and significant impetus is the concept of gender sensitization. It cannot be emphasised enough that gender based thinking, stereotypes and prejudices, can cause significant damage to another individual who is at the receiving end. Being the victim of gender related prejudices and stereotypes can affect an individuals’ way of thinking and looking at their own self, while also impacting their moods and behaviours. Gender sensitivity is about knowing your own boundaries, respecting those of others, building empathy, watching our thoughts, going beyond our stereotypical attitudes, and accepting the individuality of others.

The need for gender sensitivity…

The societal environment is changing around us and it is more than obvious that the number of incidences which infringe upon the boundaries, be it physical or personal or psychological, of another are steadily increasing. This singular factor in itself is sufficient to highlight the need for building sensitivity towards gender related aspects and factors such that incidences of aggression and violence which are gender based can be avoided. The violation of another on account of gender related aspects is something which worries us all and needs to be steadily worked upon. And the solution is not in working retrospectively once incidents have taken place. Rather the approach needs to be proactive, working forward in the direction of generating awareness and building sensitivity in thought such that it translates into action.

Here is where we start…our own selves

We each need to start with our own selves. We also need to engage others associated with us to imbibe the same thought, attitude and way of behaving. The simplest thing to start with is respect your own individuality. Then respect that of others. Use gender sensitive language and show respect to what another thinks and feels. Be willing to break stereotypes and allowing others to do the same.

Society is us and what we are will reflect in what we shape and create for the future. Let us make that a gender sensitive reflection.

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