Right in time for International Women’s Day, we are launching IFM-SEI’s new activity pack on gender equality with activities shared by many of our members!
We live in a patriarchal world
That is, a world where men hold the power and superiority over other genders in all aspects of life from employment and decision-making, to family life and in relationships. As a result, people of other genders – women and people who don’t fit into the gender binary – are systemically disadvantaged. This can be obvious or hidden, conscious and unconscious. It is so deeply entrenched in our societies that patriarchy manifests itself every single day, in every situation, across different cultures and communities and across the world. This also means within our own movements.
Gender education is a necessity
We need to challenge the gender norms entrenched into people, which starts from when babies are in the womb. We need to make boys and girls and those who don’t fit into either gender category to become critical of these gender norms and expectations pushed onto them. As educators, we need to educate ourselves in order to nurture reflected feminist men in our organisations and proud feminist women. It’s important to get children and young people to think about gender, to be given a space to reflect on their own gender identities and allow them the space to think about how gender stereotypes can be broken down, how to challenge sexism and how to respect one another regardless of gender. We need to empower the next generation of young people to challenge the patriarchy and to be proud to define as a feminist.
Challenge yourself – start educating
Some IFM-SEI organisations do more work on gender equality more than others and even for those who have an existing programme on the topic, it’s important to have it as a topic that it is ongoing. Sexism comes at us from all angles, repeatedly, so we need to do the same in response. If you’ve never worked on the topic before, why not use International Women’s Day (8th March) or the International Day of the Girl (11th October) to introduce gender equality to your local group. Why not take the step to challenge your own structures and critically analyse women’s participation at your annual congress or run a workshop at your next training event? It’s never easy to critically reflect on yourselves and your own organisation but it is necessary to make steps towards creating a more equal world.