Yesterday, September 25th, UNDP Cesar and I held the first of a series of 8 workshops for a new gender project with the aim of enhancing women's political participation in the region. It is a series of weekly courses/workshops I've been working on which explore the histories of women-led social and political movements, "Participacion politica y movimientos socales de las mujeres: conocimientos de las historias locales y globales". The course will be examining women's political and social movements from a variety of local and global contexts: from the Indigenous women involved in the zapatista movement in Chiapas Mexico, to the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, to women's resistance in the armed conflict in Guatemala. We'll be looking at women's reproductive rights in China, my study experiences and research on sexual violence in India, women's involvement in recent protests in Turkey and Egypt, etc. My aim is for the workshops to act as a space for sharing knowledge on national and international women's rights, as well as personal experiences of Colombia's armed conflict, which are inherently linked to the political issues we'll be discussing. Another aim of the workshops is to address the ways in which women have come together and fought to obtain their rights and make lasting change in their communities.
Yesterday was the introductory course and was a huge HUGE success. I was hoping to have at least 20 women attend, but when I arrived there were over 50 women as well as men who showed up! It was an inspiring afternoon so say the least, and very motivating. To see and listen to so many men, women and children who were all eager to learn more about the project and contribute to the learning space.
This shot was taken at the beginning of the workshop when I was explaining how the 8 week course will be structured. I've planned for an interactive and participatory learning space, with lots of group activities and presentations, video and documentary clips, articles and newspaper clips, open classroom discussion, etc. The photos below show some of my presentation on the different themes that will be studied/explored each week and the ways in which we'll be looking at similarities and differences amongst women's organizing and activism around the world.
Hard at work! One of the group activities we held was on sharing your personal defenition of some concepts that will be used throughout the course. These included: feminism, gender, politics, equality, "machismo", and human rights. I love this shot because each group member was to eager to write down their understanding of gender. Loved to see people so engaged and excited about discussing these concepts!