Weaving Tales and Breaking Stereotypes
The Princess builds her own Skateboard and travels around the globe (Part of Breaking the Stereotype series). Illustrator: Jennifer Wentling.
As an Empower Women Champion for Change, I took a close look at children’s literature. I found that it is not uncommon to find stories where caregiving and home care is associated with women while men are the breadwinners who participate in all kinds of economic activities. Fairytales have contributed to reinforcing gender stereotypes; illustrating princesses as "damsel in distress" who needs a man to save her.
Stories for centuries have continued to influence the minds of children and youth. It is therefore no surprise that our girls believe that they are weak and our boys expressing their desire to be strong. They have both internalized these traits through our literature's powerful narratives.
Thus, stories play a powerful role in shaping children's perspectives about themselves, others or the world we live in. And it becomes important that we create a balanced narrative that is free of any gender bias. With this objective in mind, during my tenue as a 2016-2017 Global Champion for Change, I founded the Tale Weavers. This is an initiative that aims to engage with children and the youth through stories that challenge stereotypes and empower them with different life skills.
Through simple conversations, colorful illustrations, and powerful characters, I aspire to create a world where boys do not shy away from careers in arts and girls pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). A world where children are equipped with basic financial literacy skills that will inculcate in them the importance of savings and money management from a very young age. A world where our princesses no longer dress in pink or need a prince to come to their rescue but are strong independent women who take on challenges.
Through a diverse and dynamic bank of stories, Tale Weavers will soon start on the ground workshops where we will generate awareness and create opportunities to help students break the conventional gender norms and empower themselves with better skills and knowledge.
Kaya and Kabir save for a rainy day (Part of Financial Literacy series) Illustrator: Raghu Ramachandran
I would also like to thank the UN Women’s Empower Women team that recognized me as one of the Global Champions for Change and provided me an opportunity to engage and empower my community.
More about Tale Weavers here.