Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Training Course
Venue: Yerevan, Armenia
Dates: 27 June – 5 July 2016
Participants: Božena Markovič Baluchová
Participating countries: The Netherlands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine.
Hosting organisation: Armenian Progressive Youth
Safe space for open discussion about gender related topics
Two youth NGOs: Armenian Progressive Youth (APY from Armenia) and JUB International (JUB from Netherlands) hosted an international training course (TC) in Yerevan, called: “Challenge 2 Change: Gender perspectives in Europe”. At the end of June and the beginning of July 2016 the training (financed by Erasmus+ program) brought together 36 youth workers and activists from 14 European countries. During 8 days the participants discussed the topics related to gender equality, women’s rights protection and advocacy in the European Union, Eastern Partnership and Caucasus region.
We worked on the topics, such as: Gender and Sex; Gender mainstreaming; LGBTQI+; Feminism. During the entire week we used Non-formal learning methods within the group. The most interesting one was a role play – expressing Gender Expectations and Roles, as well as gender-related Oppression & Domination techniques in our society. The participants also appreciated the Study tours to local Armenian NGOs: Women’s Resource Center of Armenia and Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK). Have you known that Diana Abkar (an Armenian writer and diplomat) was the 1st female ambassador in the World in 1920?
One of the TC activity was: City tour in Yerevan – we were sent to the city center with the list of certain tasks – to explore the gender in)equality in practice. We asked local people several sensitive questions. We discovered how the roles of men and women are socially divided; how present is the issue of domestic violence here; how does the modern dating looks like in Armenian society. We have heard many times how women are supposed to be beautiful (taking care of kids at home) whereas men are supposed to be strong (earning money in business sphere).
An important part of the TC was an International conference, called “Gender Equality in Armenia and Europe: Challenges and Perspectives” taking place in Yerevan on 1st of July 2016. The conference brought together NGOs, activists, community leaders, youth workers, academics who work for the promotion of Gender Equality and women’s empowerment in Armenia and abroad. H.E. Mr. Piotr Antoni Switalski, Head of Delegation of the EU to Armenia, was also one of the guest speakers there.
My contribution to the conference was focused on “Portrayal of women in Czech and Slovak media (journalism and marketing products)”. I talked about a significant difference in portrayal of women and men – based on the results of the comprehensive analysis of Slovak social weekly: Zivot (Life) magazine. In the presentation I talked how female journalists use stereotypes and gender insensitive language in their journalistic work for portrayal of women. I also showed the examples of annual competition “Sexist pig” focused on the most sexist adverts in Czechia. Later we compared and discussed similar examples and experiences from other European countries.
The TC participants could also explore Armenian culture, history and nature thanks to the Boat Trip to Sevan Lake, Excursion to Pagan Temple of Garni and Geghard Medieval Monastery Complex. The participants of TC were able to learn how to bake Lavash and other types of Armenian traditional meals in real Armenian family. Even though the group participants had different age, educational background, cultural and religious values, together we created very safe space for opinions sharing and open discussions about feminism, women’s reproductive rights or LGBTQI+ topic.
Text & Photo: Boba Markovic Baluchova