40 employees from the Karnataka regional team of American India Foundation (AIF) participated in a training workshop on engendering workplaces from May 15-16, 2017, which was conducted by trainers from Martha Farrell Foundation and PRIA. The objectives of the workshop were as follows:
Expectations and Fears:
The workshop started with a round of introduction, after which each participant was asked to state one fear and one expectation from the workshop. The exercise was intended to understand what the participants were expecting to learn from this workshop and what were the factor constraining them from doing so.
Expectation: "How to stop sexual harassment at workplace”, "know more about ASH”, "how to conduct oneself at the workplace”, "how to bring this to the schools that we work with”, were some of the expectations stated by the participants.
Fear: "Not comfortable talking about my personal life”, "talking freely in front of others”, "fear of losing relationships”, were some of the fears stated by the participants.
Word Relay – Understanding Sex and Gender:
The participants were divided in two teams called "Male"and "Female”. Each team member wrote down a noun/adjective/verb describing the name of their team and passed the baton (a marker) to the next team member to write another word. The team with the maximum number of words won the game.
Words Associated with "Female”:
Word Associated with "Male:
The names of two lists were interchanged, where the "Male"list was called "Female"and the "Female"list was called "Male”. Then all the words on the two lists were deconstructed to understand how each word corresponds to a certain gender norm/role set by the society and if these words are freed from their gendered connotations, then any of them can be used to describe both male and female. The trainer explained that while our gender roles our contextual and can vary, our biological sex always remains the same.
|Activity clocks made by the participants to understand sexual division of labour between men and women|
The participants were asked to fill a gender history sheet, where they explained that how at every stage of their lives (childhood, teenage, adulthood, post-marriage), they faced the pressure of confirming to gender roles. Then the participants presented their gender histories through role plays, poems, music and drawings
Change in Everyday Lives:
The participants were asked to share one practical change that they would like to bring in their everyday life, which will help them in altering unequal gendered power relationships. Some of them were as follows:
From Home to Workplace:
After understanding how gender inequality affects our families and personal lives, the workshop focused on how the same gender inequality manifests at our workplace, leading to sexual harassment at the workplace. The participants drew their workplaces to understand that any space (beyond the office space), which is directly or indirectly related to our work responsibilities or our work relationships constitutes a workplace.
|The participants drawing their workplace to show how the office space, the schools, the community spaces or the places that they travel to, constitute their workplace|
Sexual Harassment at Workplace:
After understanding what constitutes a workplace, the participants broke down the two words "harassment"and "sexual”, to understand what all is included in sexual harassment at the workplace. It can be:
Participants divided into groups to describe and present on how sexual harassment at workplace can be addressed and prevented and what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behavior at the workplace. The trainer informed and explained about the powers, rights and responsibilities of every employee and the ASH committee for preventing sexual harassment at the workplace.
Learning from the Workshop:
The participants shared their learning from the workshop. Some of them are as follows: