Kareena Kapoor on gender equality: Actor and mother of two, Kareena Kapoor is a working woman and has been a trendsetter, whether it’s on-screen or off-screen. Recently, she spoke about how kids should understand that their mother is equal to their father. It is important to talk to young ones about women’s rights and here is why Kapoor-Khan’s effort is worth appreciating.
There is no denying that examples are set at home. Parents, caregivers and extended family play a massive role in the way children understand and think about gender and gender equality. Hence, it is worth appreciating when someone who enjoys a huge following like Kareena Kapoor Khan talks about how she is teaching her kids (Tim and Jeh) about gender equality.
Kapoor-Khan has been a trendsetter in the Hindi film industry. Whether it was for playing a character like Poo in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham who is the antithesis of the Bhartiya Nari, the Size 0 figure in Tashan, or playing the prostitute in Chameli. In her personal life, she has been pretty open with her relationships. She has often received hate for her inter-faith marriage. There have been no other parents in India who would have been so severely criticised for the choice of name for their child.
As a mother, she has been a working mom and resumed work soon after both her pregnancies. She told a media channel, “In the case of Tim and Jeh, I think the idea is that they see me go to work even now. Like when, every time I put on my shoes, Taimur asks ‘where are you going?’ My answer is ‘I’m going to work or I’m going to shoot or I’m going for an event or I’m going for a meeting because amma has to work’. So, abba works and so does amma. I think growing up looking at the fact that in this house, it’s not just the man who does things, we both do things equally.”
Kapoor does not mince words. She also opened about her pregnancies and shared how her second pregnancy was difficult compared to the first one. At the launch of her book Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Pregnancy Bible: The ultimate manual for moms-to-be she told Karan Johar, “This time, it was difficult. When I had Taimur, it was like a breeze and that’s why I decided to go for childbirth again. But Jeh was difficult.”
“Abba works and so does amma,” it may sound like a very simple statement but it normalises mothers having their independent identities. It breaks the age-old breadwinner and caregiver binary set for the two genders. It attunes you to the fact that women can achieve professional success without belittling their responsibilities as a parent. It normalises housework being shared.
Children must realise that women can balance their work and personal life and they develop a sense of respect for them. Kids mustn’t take their hard work for granted and look up to them as their role models. Social conditioning often pushes children to conform to gender roles and expectations from a young age. In speaking up and breaking such stereotypes, mothers can play an important role in preparing our future generation for an egalitarian gender ideology and a more equal society.
Views expressed are the author’s own.