During the last three years of PULSE a lot of teaching material has been developed. One of the topics we teach is «Gender Equality and Social Inclusion». All our material on this subject is gathered in a guide consisting of relevant theoretical background information and activities designed to make participants reflect on different aspects of the topic. The PULSE team travels all over South Africa facilitating workshops and tutor sessions based on this guide, and last week the time had come for the eMalahleni tutor team. One of the overall aims of these workshops is to give some fundamental knowledge about gender and minority challenges in both the local and global society. We also seek to explore the attitudes in society and in ourselves that can prevent equality. Equality is one of the core values of the FBF and something we strive to fulfil on all levels of the organisation. PULSE also recognizes the health aspects of equality. If you are not given the same rights and opportunities, you do not have the same chance of experiencing meaning, mastering, self-esteem e.g. Also seeing the needs and behaviours of both genders and all people to be of equal value, leads to feeling a sense of worth and acceptance. These are all components in mental and social well-being.
The tutor team all got involved in the discussions and reflections, which led to a lot of interesting talks throughout the day. One tutor shared that he enjoyed being able to reflect upon own attitudes, and get to know more about how other people think about the same topic through our discussions. Reflecting upon concepts that we usually take for granted was also brought up as a valuable experience. During the last part of the workshop, we discussed different strategies for working towards a greater gender balance in their field band.
The facilitators and workshop participants are all from different cultures, and PULSE seeks to challenge attitudes in a way that is respectful of all societies. The workshops are a space for reflection. None of us have all the answers to these complex issues, but it is always valuable to unwrap our thoughts and ideas and examine how and why they exist within us.
Written by Emely Ruth Waet
Pictures by PULSE