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Sesame Street Is Showing Indian Children That Girls Can Play Sports and Boys Can Cry

Days just got a little bit sunnier for fans of Galli Galli Sim Sim — the Indian adaptation of children’s show Sesame Street.

The show introduced a series of special episodes in October that focus on promoting gender equality and girls’ empowerment. The month-long series called, “Growing Up Chamki,” developed by the Sesame Workshop India with support from Procter & Gamble, aims to challenge gender-biased stereotypes — like boys shouldn’t cry and cooking is a woman’s job — that children are exposed to early on.

Chamki, a fearless 5-year-old Muppet girl from Galli Galli Sim Sim, stars as the central character in the series which not only questions such stereotypes, but encourages children to reject them, instead urging them to see the world as an equal playground where they are free to pursue any dream.

Take Action: Break Down Gender Stereotypes with Sesame Street

The episodes show boys and girls in scenarios that break away from traditional gender roles that children may internalize an early age and which go on to inform and perpetuate gender biases. The show highlights female characters’ ability to play soccer, lead, and do math. In other episodes, male characters cook and openly express their emotions. 

The series complement special “Growing Up Chamki” episodes released last year, sponsored by P&G, in which Chamki and friends pushed back on gender discrimination and inequality by modeling girls and boys in different careers and family roles.

The idea behind the series is that seeing these positive role models will help shape young viewers’ ideas of gender, ability, and social norms and encourage them to see the world as an equal playing field. 

“At P&G, we see equal and aspire to build a world free from gender bias,” Sonali Dhawan, Marketing Director P&G India, said. “We are using our voice in advertising and media, removing gender barriers to the education of girls and economic opportunities for women, and achieving equal gender representation within the company.”