Gender equality is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making, and when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured.
In this sense, more than 30 youth workers came from 10 European countries to participate in the training course “A Step Forward towards a gender Equality” in Montemaggiore (Sicily). The aim of the project is to increase the knowledge and awareness of youth workers about the gender identity and equality!
In the beginning of the training, attendees were exploring urgent and sensitive issues related to male and female differences, such as gender-based objectification, representation of females and males in advertisements and gender roles in society. The topics provoked heated discussions and brought a variety of relevant issues to light.
Participants had an opportunity to share their own country‘s concept of an ideal man and a woman, challenge each other‘s perceptions and identify differences of their views that are influenced by their cultural backgrounds. The activity revealed that gender bias and stereotypical gender roles still prevail in majority of the participant countries, they are shaped by religion, media, our families and cultural backgrounds.
People coming from very different backgrounds still tend to have similar biased and stereotypical view of a female role in society, however, the participants recognized that in current social climate new pressures and challenges also emerge for male‘s image.
The second part of the training was focused on LGBT, sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Various games and tasks helped participants to explore the topic and understand what it feels like to be a part of sexual or gender minority group.
The participants became aware of basic terminology, differences between notions of gender and sex, they learnt about gender mainstreaming and queer movements. They explored the sensitive topics of sexual harassment, gender-based violence and discrimination. The participants had opportunities to work in groups and individually where they were able to explore their personal experience in terms of their own gender identity.
The topic of the training, being a very controversial and sensitive one, is also relevant to all participants, hence, all of the participants became deeply and passionately involved in the discussions and were able to share their personal experience. We hope that the project helped our participants to take a big step towards better understanding of gender equality issues, we also hope that the attendees will return to their countries and continue to share the knowledge acquired during the project and help to spread the education and information on these extremely important and urgent issues.
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