On 8th February, a team from Centre for Social Research (CSR) comprising of Ms. Prajakta Neelkanth and Ms Ritika Bhatia conducted a half day workshop on gender sensitization at Galgotia University for 60 students on the 8th of February. These students were from the School of Finance and Commerce.
The workshop began with a brief introduction about Galgotia University and CSR. This was followed by welcome remarks by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Galgotia University. She discussed the importance of building understanding of gender and on the need of gender equality. This was followed by a warm welcome to CSR Team members.
The sessions began with Ms. Prajakta giving background to students on “Difference between Gender and Sex” with the help of a story. To break the barricades of thoughts developed through socialization, discussion was carried out in the session by placing focus on how we live with the societal norms on daily basis and have limited ourselves to the dictated responsibilities such as men are considered as breadwinners and women as homemakers. The discussion in this session was initiated with the help of an activity called “Gender Fence”. In this activity the participants are given an A4 size sheet comprising of page border or “fence”. The trainer instructs the participants to pen down their random thoughts on the paper within five minutes without asking any further questions. It was observed that all the participants except four participants wrote only within the page border, an observation which we have made in most of the trainings we conduct. This depicts that our conditioning is so strong that it forces us to think within the boundaries. The purpose of this activity was to help participants to understand that Gender roles, responsibilities and preconceived notions become the main factors for gender based discrimination in the society.
Next, The “Boys Don’t Cry” video was shown and this video laid the basis for discussion on how gender socialization starts in the beginning of life. It was also discussed that it will be better if instead of being taught their gender roles, children are taught to be good human beings. While discussing concepts of gender, it is also important to discuss Gender Stereotyping. This was done through another activity called “Institutionalization of Gender”. In this activity the trainer wrote the three institutions that largely contributes/affects the everyday life of an individual i.e. – House-hold, Educational Institutes and Media. So, the participants were asked to give ten statements for each institution which contribute towards reinstating gender. For example statements such as Boys are Bread winners, Boys play with macho toys and various commercial advertisements only showing women. So, the participants through the medium of this activity discussed that how on a daily basis these institutions contribute towards developing individuals with gendered thinking by stereotyping of roles and responsibilities.
Further, the training team summarized the session and asked the participants to think about the various issues raised in the “Impossible Dreams” film, which discusses the daily life of a woman and narrates the journey of how she is burdened with house hold work, taking care of the family and even working. On the other hand, the man has lesser responsibilities at home and even at work he is paid much better than woman, despite their potential being the same. This film acted as a base for taking the discussion further and contributed towards building linkages between gender roles & responsibilities, patriarchy and power relations. The trainer then discussed how power relations contribute towards gender based violence. She further discussed the role that power plays in creating hierarchy in all the spheres of life and to explain this, an activity the trainer showcased a video called “Change is beautiful”. This short video discussed the importance change(s) leading to gender equality.
Followed by this, the Power Walk activity was conducted with the participant group. One was tagged as a male politician, another female politicians etc. The facilitator of this exercise read out a situation. On this if the participant felt that they have been given this opportunity they would take a step ahead else they would keep standing at their places. After reading out all the sentences, the facilitator asked the group to look how far they have walked. This activity basically clears the difference between the existing hierarchy in different societal roles that male and females take up.
The half day workshop contributed towards building understanding of students on the concept of Gender. CSR appreciates the efforts of the University for improving the conditions for students and teachers in the educational institutions, homes and workplace. Now, CSR team is looking forward to the next training in the campus.
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