We are in this together! Workshop
The problem of gender inequality in Bosnia and Herzegovina (and the world) has been something I’ve been passionate about for a long time. Even though the situation nowadays is a lot better from what it used to be, I considered it could get more attention. During the preparation phase of this project, I wanted to create something that would be more than “just a project about gender equality” and create a safe space for creative ideas to be shared and finally implemented by each alumnus/a that would be a part of the project. An interactive workshop with a guest speaker seemed to be the perfect solution.
I sent out an invite and an application for all YES Alumni, regardless of year of return, gender, knowledge on the topic, etc. One of the main parts of the application was a project proposal, which meant the applicants had to give a short summary of a project they hope to do once they gather information/knowledge from the workshop. I then went through a process of selecting 7 alumni and even though most of the participants were girls, I was happy we had one male participant as well. Thanks to the US Alumni Association in BiH, the workshop was set to take place in a venue at Networks, Sarajevo during the period of September 14 – 15, 2017. List of selected alumni consisted of:
- YES ’14: Lamija Jamak, Sead Joldic;
- YES ’16: Jelena Pilipovic, Merima Muhic;
- YES ’17: Adna Maksumic, Anamaria Pestic, Belkisa Music.
During the first day, the participants learned about gender equality in B&H right now, as well as the background of the movement; gender equality in education, the work place and the society; the meaning of a real MAN and a real WOMAN in our society; as well as equality vs. equity. Each section was done and talked about through educational games and personal examples, which made the topic less scary and the participants could connect to it more. Alongside with more open ways of discussing the topic, I made sure to incorporate facts and current statistics about the position of women and men in different areas and different parts of the world. Besides these activities, we also had a guest speaker Vedrana Frasto, a representative from Fondacija Cure (Foundation Girls) who talked about the organization itself, their previous projects and goals they hope to achieve in our country. Frasto was kind enough to bring promotional materials to our alumni including flyers about PitchWise. PitchWise is a project in which talented women get together and paint, sing and perform focusing on topics about gender equality in Sarajevo with hundreds of volunteers and participants. She also brought yearly report booklets and pins! To finish of the official part of day one, alumni had the chance to share their ideas and get tips and advice from other alumni in order to be able to execute their projects in the best way possible. Lunch and dinner breaks were used not only for exploring new places in Sarajevo, but also to talk about their gender equality projects. The combination of the guest speaker and the workshop being completely interactive made it possible for us to learn everything that was planned and complete the project ideas!
The following day, the participants took on completing Lamija Jamak’s project proposition in form of a social media campaign. They were photographed while holding and tearing up hand-written signs with stereotypes people usually have about their gender: men being considered weak if they cry or aren’t masculine enough; expecting women to always be calm, wear make-up; or, for men to be better at sports, etc. Those signs were later on put together in form of a short video and posted on the official YES Alumni Facebook Page in a span of 7 days using the hashtag #7daysofgenderequality. The rest of the alumni will implement their projects in the months to come.