Report of the IPSCR workshop alongwith BMMA on Gender in Mumbai on 23rd March 2011
IPSCR conducted a workshop on gender with workers of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in Mumbai on 23rd march 2011. There were around 20 women participants coming from states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa and Delhi. They came from different age groups and worked on issues of Muslim women in terms of health, education, livelihood and SHGs. The one day workshop was divided into sessions on Identity, Violence and Peace Building. The methodology used was aimed at making the workshop more participatory and interactive. Thus mediums of short films (Film made by Akshara on Identity, Ek Chingari Ki khoj) , games (power line, planet formation) and group discussions (Identity, sources of power, types of violence, women as peace builders) were given more emphasizes strengthened with crisp inputs. The resourse persons facilitating the workshop were Adv. Irfan Engineer and Neha Dabhade from Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution (IPSCR).
The sessions were designed to facilitate more of sharing of experiences of the participants from their personal lives as well as their work with women. This was one of the positives of the workshop. Women could apply theory to their personal lives and make direct linkages. They gave examples and incidences that shaped their understanding of gender and how their sense of identity was formed. Their personal examples were powerful and touching and helped in putting hierarchies, patriarchy being one of the more prominent ones into perspective. In the same way the medium of games, films and discussions helped participants in some brain storming and better internalization of inputs. They found it easier to relate to each other’s life experiences and build a common coherent understanding of the oppression they face and how multiple identities are formed.
However it was a key learning as to how to cover a range of topics in a one day workshop. The participants in their feedback mentioned this too. They felt that the workshop should have been longer in order to give each session more time especially when there was intense and overwhelming discussions on the most sensitive issues. Participants also felt that session on Gender and sex must be given more time since in spite of previous workshops on gender with them; they still haven’t been able to arrive at a clear understanding on gender and gender roles. While deeply appreciating the use of games and discussions, the participants were also of a view that more such simple and innovative games must be gamed so that they can replicate some of these in their areas of work to train the community. Thus there is a need to constantly improvise methodology and make it community friendly.
IPSCR, like other organizations, is constantly striving towards evolving a module for training that can be used to train activists on different issues. This workshop does boosts morale and encourage to design modules on gender and replicate it elsewhere.