Based on the premise that gender equality must be a fundamental value in society, the project "EGALIS: Gender equality through social change and education" works in the area that generates the most profound change: education.
One thing is clear for the organisations part of the Coalition for Gender Equality: they want to break the vicious circle of perpetuating gender inequalities through the education of young people, pursuing a long-term social impact.
Most of the project's activities directly or indirectly target young people and are designed in an attractive and relevant context for them, promoting gender equality among them with the help of diverse, attractive and modern tools such as: Feminism through YouTube and Theatre, Feminism Friendship Kit, Feminism for All, Friends of Feminism Network, Gender Gap Hackathon, etc.
Speaking of young people - “How would students draw a feminist? What does feminism mean to them?”
The Romanian Society for Feminist Analyses (AnA) conducted a research among secondary school students in Romania to find out their perception of feminism and the connotations that the term has for them. Based on the research, within the EGALIS project was launched the "Feminism Friendship Kit" for pupils and students in pre-university education, aimed at providing a minimal dictionary of feminist terms, together with a set of information about feminism and women's emancipation movements in Romania and around the world; explaining and debunking some myths about feminism; stimulating critical thinking on the part of pupils, by outlining questions and themes for those who want to find out what is really behind the "F" word that is so controversial. The "Feminism Friendship Kit" is available and can be downloaded here: https://ongen.ro/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Kit-de-Imprietenire-cu-Feminismul.pdf
Below, some drawings realized by children:
Guide for teaching gender equality in pre-university education
In order to create a gender-sensitive education system, teachers will soon have a guide to teaching gender equality in pre-university education.
"I think it is appropriate to create a guide for teachers on gender mainstreaming in the classroom as it would be, first and foremost, a way of raising awareness, informing and training teachers. As well as reactivating teachers' personal reflection on issues such as gender discrimination, negative behavioral stereotypes or equal opportunities, this guide would provide clear guidelines for tackling these issues in the different subjects. Personally, as a language teacher, I integrate mini-discussions on key gender equality issues whenever I have the opportunity, but a guide would help me to make my approach more coherent. Gender equality problems are the result of a lack of education. The solution therefore lies in educating and guiding teachers, who in turn will be able to educate their pupils more successfully. I am looking forward to using this guide!"
"Girls wear pink, boys wear blue. Girls play with dolls, boys play with cars. Girls are neat and write nice, boys are messy and write ugly. Girls are more hardworking, boys are more lazy. A young girl preoccupied with career at the expense of family will end up an old maid. A young man preoccupied with career at the expense of family is ambitious. Even if she is independent, a woman is not fulfilled unless she marries and has children. A man can't do it alone, he needs a woman to feed him, wash him and iron him. An unmarried or childless teacher or schoolteacher is bound to be bad and give lower marks. An unmarried or childless teacher or professor is probably out of luck.
I'm afraid the gender stereotypes listed above have annoyed (too) few readers. Which is why I think a guide to gender mainstreaming in the classroom is more than welcome.
Sure, one can reproach, education is done at home, including gender education, why burden teachers with that? For the same reason teachers teach children to write: gender equality requires literacy, and literacy must be done by education specialists. For us, teachers, gender mainstreaming in the classroom should be a routine to shape future adults both at home and in the workplace."
„Gender equality - a hot topic? Some will say yes, others will deny it or dismiss the issue. The mere existence of dissent and differences of opinion shows that the issue is highly topical. Beyond legislation on the equal treatment of women and men, beyond gender mainstreaming in all public policies and the adoption of specific measures to promote women, a change of mentality is needed. Gender equality education must start early and be implemented consistently. Where can this educational process take place? Certainly in schools, the institution with a major impact in forming a vision of the world and of life. From dismantling gender stereotypes to eliminating differences in family responsibilities, from combating violence against women to addressing the gender pay gap, all can be educated in school. A coherent framework is needed to have the desired impact. In the absence of gender equality training for teachers, measures must be put in place to provide quality education. A guide with theoretical landmarks, with information on the history of the topic, but especially with teaching activities that allow them to be carried out in the classroom is a real support for intervention in changing the mentality."
Increasing the capacity of the Coalition for Gender Equality
At the same time, the project aims to increase the capacity of the Coalition for Gender Equality, which has been operating since 2014. Through the project, member organisations will gain resources and know-how to improve their internal management and procedures, leadership and communication. Moreover, the exhibition "10 years of feminist activism in Romania" bringing together women's voices and creativity will bring equality values closer to the general public and increase the visibility of NGOs.
In 2021, as part of organisational development, NGO representatives from the Coalition for Gender Equality met in Brasov for strategic planning workshops.
Topics discussed at the workshops included sex education / health education in schools, gender mainstreaming in education, girls and women's access to health and social services, women's access to decision-making positions, countering anti-gender campaigns.
”"I enjoy every time I have the opportunity to meet and work with colleagues from other women's rights organisations. The 3 days spent at the workshop in Brasov, within the EGALIS project, were full of positive energy, enthusiasm and ideas. We analysed our strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to women's rights in Romania in order to know how to better organise ourselves. We discussed topics such as sex education/health education in schools, gender mainstreaming in education, girls' and women's access to social and health services, women's access to decision-making positions and countering anti-gender campaigns. I would like us to meet more often, because we are a force together! ”
"For me the meeting was very valuable for the opportunity to clarify the priorities we have within the Coalition for Gender Equality and to know what are also the proposed priorities at the organizational level within the Coalition. Although all participants in this workshop work in very similar fields, in our daily activities we do not have the opportunity to get to know each other closely, to learn from each other's experiences. Such meetings help us to get to know each other, to coordinate and complement our efforts to increase gender equity."
"I was happy to see my colleagues face to face after a year and a half of working online, to listen to them and reconnect. It was important for me to clarify what the Coalition for Gender Equality has achieved so far, especially in the area of advocacy, the SEX vs BARZA Association being a newer member of the Coalition. In general, for me, the two days in Brașov meant two days of clarifying the potential of the Coalition, which I also represent in the Economic and Social Council.”