Addressing patriarchal mindsets starts at home: Dialogue panellists
Sharing responsibilities like cooking and caregiving with wives and treating sons and daughters the same are ways in which men can tackle patriarchal mindsets at home.
These were suggestions made during a virtual dialogue session organised by crisis shelter Casa Raudha and welfare organisation Emaan Catalyst Community on Saturday.
The dialogue, titled Breaking The Patriarchal Mindset: Men's Perspective, featured three panellists - Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim; Ustaz Irwan Hadi, deputy director at the Office of the Mufti; and Mr Hafiz Othman, executive director of Emaan Catalyst Community.
Patriarchy refers to a system that promotes economic and social inequality of women, among other things.
Citing the increase in family violence cases and domestic complaints last year, Mr Zhulkarnain stressed the urgent need to address patriarchal mindsets as family units face more stress during the pandemic.
"I have seen feedback... that due to the increase in interactions at home and perhaps due to the physical constraints, family members are more prone to misunderstandings between one another..." he said.
"This may be caused by inequitable divisions of responsibilities at home or unfair expectations of a partner in terms of child caregiving and housekeeping roles in the homes.
"Inevitably, such behaviour stems from patriarchal mindsets or deep-seated prejudices on what is the role of a wife, mother, sister or daughter at home. Some of these prejudices have led to more serious consequences such as the infliction of violence at home."
Mr Hafiz said it was important to adopt aspects of positive masculinity, or positive male gender roles and norms.
This could be done by engaging more men to actively reject patriarchal norms and amplifying the voice of fathers and husbands as positive role models.
He said: "We expect girls to be more nurturing and more sociable. I think we also need to educate our boys to look into these areas...so they can expand their emotional intelligence and not resort to aggression."
Ustaz Irwan said it was important for people to adopt a family-first approach when practising compassion and empathy.
Those who need support can call the National Anti-Violence Helpline on 1800-777-0000 and the National Care Hotline on 1800-202-6868.