Monitoring Gender Equality
Members of the Media Education Center’s Women’s Rights Project are collaborating with and participating in a series of four workshops in Belgrade related to the empowerment of women in the region. The workshops are part of a larger EU-funded project to support civil society organizations (CSOs) in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina involved in promoting gender-sensitive laws, policies and action plans. The CSOs include the DAH Teatar in Belgrade, World Vision and Infotecka (both in Bosnia), and Women’s Safe House (in Montenegro). The project focuses on engaging youth and young adults (18-30 years old) to monitor and advocate for gender equality in law and policy implementation.
The first workshop (April 9-11, 2012) led by Maja Vujovic, Production Director at the DAH Theater, aimed to heighten artistic awareness and skills in the service of creating visual documentation (photographs and video) of gender-related issues. The session opened at the DAH Teatar by exposing a group of youth from Belgrade in contemporary theatrical techniques. On Day One, the group learned about “separation”—how to portray shifting focus and create meaningful transitions—by focusing on breath, purposeful and thoughtful placement of feet, arms and hands, rhythm, turning direction, following directorial instructions, timing and pacing. These are all important elements in shaping effective visual messages—be it film or video, photographs or theater.
Individually, participants recreated their mental map of Belgrade and of the world on paper. We then expressed these “mental maps” in physical form by walking from one “country” to another revealing our individual perceptions of global gender-related discrepancies. As individuals moved from one part of the room (world) to another, we embodied a kind of dance visible to any spectator.
Participants were split into three groups to begin brainstorming how to go about documenting gender-related issues in Belgrade using some of the techniques learned.
On Day Two and Three of the workshop, teambuilding activities continued–through work on pacing and placement, movement and separation in the DAH theater and then through visits out “in the field”. We split into our three groups, decided on our respective action plans and then proceeded to Kalenic market, the university and USCE shopping center and elsewhere in the city to find visual material. The three groups subsequently used the digital material collected to create three videos to be used in subsequent workshops and online.
Followup workshops included one on Gender Training (April 27 & 28), Facilitation Skills Training (May 9th and 10th)and the last, Citizen Voice and Action Training, will take place in August.
For more information on this and similar projects, contact:
Ivana Milenoic Popovic
Empowering Young Women to Monitor Government Commitments to Gender Equality
The DAH Teatar