COVID-19 has opened a number of new possibilities, including the organization of online sessions with international experts.
As part of our activity, we try to educate our staff and our local partners. In November 2021, Maria Petersson from our partner organization CentralAsianGrupperna (CAG) kindly conducted a session of gender mainstreaming in organizations.
In total, 12 partners participated in the given session, including state organizations, local and national civil society organizations, research institutes.
During the training we discussed the following topics:
- What is gender to you?
- What is gender inequality? Does it exist? Is it good or bad?
- Why should we care about gender?
- Can the way we understand gender be changed?
- What characterizes men and women? How are these characteristics associated with power?
- What are other important factors affecting gender? (Age, ethnicity, class)
- How many women and how many men participate in the organisation and organisation’s projects? Are there different reasons why men and women participate and do not participate?
- How are decisions made and how are the management structured? Are these aspects of organisational culture connected to gender?
The discussion was sharpened by the real-life stories experienced by our participants. Especially the life story of Aigul (name changed), a local deputy in one the municipalities, who nurtured the discussion where she shared the kind of discrimination she experienced while working in militia (not being trusted to carry a gun). Later, when she was being elected to the local deputy, she and her family experienced pressure to not participate in the elections simply because she was a woman and was to look after her household according to the opinions of some of other candidates.
In general, all participants agreed that women face a number of barriers, such as legal and socio-cultural norms. They have poor access to infrastructure, employment opportunities and participate less in decision making. Despite the changing role of gender in the occupation sector, women are still employed at the administrative parts, but not sufficiently involved at the decision making.
As a result of the discussion, the participating organizations agreed to develop a gender action plan to create better conditions for women.