The Teaching Resources
A manual has been compiled with the primary objective of educating the participants and making them aware of the importance of using a gender lens in their everyday life. Six sessions are included: Choice, Gender Roles; Relationships; Work; Ambition; and Violence. The participants can range from young adolescents, to young adults and adults. The activities can be used for middle and high school students, college students, working professionals, trainers, and teachers.
Each session can be from two to three hours long and contains visual aids, documentaries and movies, and poems and short stories as the basis for brainstorming, discussions, and games. The facilitator may choose to use
one or more activities from those suggested. The personal experience of undergraduate students, expressed in the form of poems and short stories, which are used as pegs for each session.
The focus of the lessons is on critical thinking, questioning and self-reflection with a view to creating a safe space for discussion, questioning, thinking, reflecting and converting those into practice. The activities included seek to explore the intersectionalities between women’s various social identities and realities. To create a more sensitive and just world for women, the sessions question and address gender inequity; the ‘normal’ and accepted; the norms, culture, customs and traditions. Disparity, injustice, violence and disempowerment are not just women’s issues, but concerns that affect the society as a whole. The personal is always political; the connections between personal experiences and larger social and political structures form the basis for the sessions.
The sessions have been planned by a project fellow working at Christ University, Bengaluru. After discussion between education specialists in Bengaluru and Liverpool and the piloting of some material, the manual is now undergoing revision and refinement.
The Theoretical Framework
This module has been developed on the principle of praxis – the practice relies on theoretical foundations and the hope is that the theory is actualised in practice through the various activities in the sessions. Here are the theoretical underpinning for this module.
Feminist perspective: While designing this module, a conscious effort has been made to employ a feminist approach. This perspective enabled to explore intersectionality between gender, caste, race, economic status and other social realities. This makes the participants reflect upon how different identities of a woman, in different contexts, combine to create unique forms of discrimination and opression for her. The sessions compel the participants to introspect and reflect upon issues of power, gender roles, choices, participation and the rights of women, both in the private and public domain.
Ecological perspective: This perspective looks at interactions between the systems and an individual and the reciprocal effect on both. Human beings are constantly creating, restructuring, and adapting to the social system around them – like family, communities, school, society, culture, policies and so on. According to this approach, there are sub-systems that move from the individual’s most immediate environment to a larger context.
Multi-level and intersecting forms of discrimination have always existed, although they have been more broadly acknowledged only in recent decades. Age, socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic background, religion, national origin, state of war or conflict in the country, citizenship, status, health, and disability, as well as poverty and sexual orientation, are examples of factors that can exacerbate or otherwise influence the nature of discrimination faced by women.