Did you know that International Women’s Day was canceled in Czechoslovakia during the Second World War? Students of the Private Gymnasium Solivarská 28 in Prešov know this thanks to the workshop. On March 9th and 24th, the workers of the EsFem community association talked not only about the history of the holiday, but also about how the holiday is related to political participation. Thanks to the workshops, the students became familiar with the current situation regarding inequalities between women and men in politics and everyday life.
The experts talked to the students about International Women’s Day, its history, what it is related to, how it developed, how it is related to the fight for women’s suffrage and other rights, for example the eight-hour working day, the ban on child labor or safety at work . Several group activities were prepared for the students. “When we arrive, it’s shy at first, but usually when we include an activity, we try to make it fun. Within the groups, the students then laugh, they dare to discuss,” explained Monika Bosá, who led the workshop.
Inequalities between women and men were transferred by the experts to the everyday level. Regarding the topics of political participation or the public sphere, they also mention the care of the household, which often rests on the shoulders of women. “Why aren’t women in politics, why aren’t they in leadership positions? It’s partly because they don’t want to let them in, but even if they let them in, as long as they have family-friendly activities, it’s not possible,” explained Monika Bosá.
We need political activism if we don’t want to clean the toilet at home
During the workshop, it became clear that students often have unrealistic ideas that everything can be easily agreed upon. This also applies to the division of labor. Therefore, the experts tried the so-called “aha effect”. Using the example of a sibling who refuses to do housework, the students were shown that in many cases it is simply impossible to come to an agreement. Initially, they proposed, for example, a list system for the division of work.
“We asked them what they would do if a sibling just wouldn’t do it. After that, answers like, he will get slapped or I will blackmail him, started to come up. They started preparing for manipulations,” said Monika Bosá. Finally, the students mentioned that they would involve parents in the solution, who, according to Monika, represent a symbol of power. “That’s exactly why we need political activism if we don’t want to always be the ones cleaning the toilet at home,” she added.
The students realized that things cannot always be just agreed upon. They also discovered how easy it is to slip into violence or manipulation. Last but not least, they learned that inequalities between women and men still persist and remain an open topic that needs attention.
The work of female experts does not end here. Monika is currently preparing to come to our women’s community in Sveržov. She will introduce important Roma women from the world of art and science to the women we work with in our community centers. Later, it will also stop in our community in Roškovcie.
The project Gender equality for Roma communities, which was supported by Norwegian grants and the Slovak state budget, is implemented together with EsFem and Vyrovnávanie šancí.
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