"The idea is to start from local culture and knowledge
and enable each group to participate and be responsible for
their own development process - totally identifying with it".
main characteristic observed in the community leadership speech
was the contradiction resulting from the fact that their identities
were built as mothers within a private space while
at the same time they had an activity that linked them to a public
space. The contradiction seemed so obvious that it ended up by naming
the work "Women out of place", which was also the
title of a video
illustrating the conflicts experienced by the
women interviewed, which became evident from their own speeches.
Popular Education intends to renegotiate gender conditions,
observing how other social categories such as race, culture,
ethnic group, age, social class and sexual orientation participate
in its construction.
the need for an emancipating intervention, which would facilitate
a critical reflection process, became gradually clear. According
to Paulo Freire, this could be a basis for conscientization
a process that culminates in action, or in a more active posture,
where the person is accountable for his/her own story and for
the possibilities of changing it.
The feminists took again the Paulo Freires ideas and used
the empowerment concept to systematize what they called "Feminist
Popular Education" . These
are the theoretical premises behind the Workshop.
this kind of work it is essential to start with womens
closest experiences the domestic environment, the neighborhood,
the family, the origin of feelings and emotions using
concrete instead of abstract references. This process intends
to reveal daily life as intrinsically political and related
to wider social and hierarchical oppression issues. It is
a very delicate process, since the valorization of individual
experiences may corroborate a depreciation of the feminine
universe; but the challenge is to illustrate, through different
experiences, the heterogeneity of the category called "woman".
our work with groups of women, we also used a few dramatizations
based on the method of Teatro do Oprimido / Theatre of the Oppressed,
which establishes total affinity with the video feedback technique,
as well as with Paulo Freire’s Pedagogia do Oprimido / Pedagogy
of the Oppressed. The idea is to enhance awareness of the "here
and now", as well as of data not perceptible before, to researchers
and researched. Thus we could build a path leading these women to
a critical reflection on their own realities.
The Oficina de Cidadania da Mulher (Workshop for Womens Citizenship)
has been structured with basis on the empowerment concept proposed
by Nelly Stromquist. This concept is divided into four levels: cognitive,
psychological, economical and political.
Each level had been addressed through specific themes, always employing
participative methodologies and videos as tools.
Women from urban underprivileged classes.
Gender and Empowerment awareness.
Words: Gender; Citizenship; Health; Sexuality; Human rights;
Local development projects.
¸ A large room;
¸ Mobile chairs;
¸ Video camera;
¸ V. C. R;
¸ Television or Big Screen;
¸ Sheets of paper;
¸ Color pens.
Themes Addressed: Cognitive empowerment, gender awareness, sexual
division of work.
Registration of participants;
Dynamic introduction of group;
Introduction: survey of group and team expectations. Description
of goals and methodologies.
Sharing of experiences: recalling and discussing situations
of oppression experienced by the participants; selection of situations
Role-playing should be filmed for video-feedback.
Brain Storming: writing on the flipchart whatever comes to
mind when thinking of woman and man;
Resuming role-playing themes. Discussing different male and
female roles in society, introducing the concepts of sex and gender;
Construction of a one-day clock: building a 24 hrs clock,
individually. Investigate the history of sexual work division and
themes such as female double shifts, legitimacy and compensation
of womens work.
Closing the day with a song which represents the groups
Themes Addressed: psychological empowerment, self-esteem, health,
and sexuality, political empowerment and womens rights.
Video-feedback of previous day role-playing. Suggested questions
to introduce discussions:
Why does this happen? Why does a woman act like this?
How should women react when confronted with the situations
shown? Imagine another kind of reaction.
Discussion on self-esteem: the advantages and disadvantages
of being a woman. Is there an unique or ideal female model?
Sexuality and health: knowledge, appropriation and responsibility
over ones body.
Discussion in small groups about themes such as: STD/AIDS,
monthly period, womens disorders.
Presentation of the main points of womens health included
in public policies.
Womens rights: presentation of daily situations faced
by women. The participants will classify them as fair or unfair.
Division into small groups and distribution of handouts about
"womens problems": divorce, work conditions, health
issues, domestic violence. There should be an exchange of ideas
about possible solutions for the cases presented. Distribution of
the text of law related to each one.
Relating womens rights to the Declaration of Human
Rights: what was first seen as an injustice, is now seen as a violation
of human rights.
Showing the importance of the civil society participation
in order to legitimize and actually apply existing laws.
Themes Addressed: political empowerment, development, economical
empowerment, local development projects.
Development: encouraging discussion around a video-documentary
on community work by women, establishing a dialogue between local
and global; between community actions and the macro context.
Basic and strategies needs: how can they be articulated with
community work and individual actions.
Projects: division into small groups to discuss what could
be done in the communities regarding income generation, health,
education, and law.
Distribution of basic guidelines to help action planning
(what to do, how, why, with whom, where?) always taking into consideration
the projects sustainability. Groups will present a draft of
the created projects.
Theater Forum: division into two groups. Each group will
create a situation of oppression as a sketch;
Each group will perform to the other group, followed by a
discussion and intervention by the audience.
Final evaluation of the workshop.
"D'ÁVILA NETO, M.I., PIRES, C., ALMEIDA, A., CABRAL,
C., NAZARETH, J., SOARES, M.. Mulheres fora do lugar. Hi-8 / NTSC.
Rio de Janeiro. Laboratoire d'Images - EICOS/IP/UFRJ, 1999. 11 min."