The young men and women participants discussed the effect of societal culture on the spread of harmful and negative stereotypes, the consequent violations of women’s rights and the changes in the Palestinian society that led to the change of roles and the concept of parental care.
The promotion of gender equality
The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development—REFORM implemented a 5-day training on the electronic app, ZOOM, on the concepts of gender and masculinity, where representatives of civil society organizations and unions from Ramallah and occupied Jerusalem participated. The training aimed to raise the participants’ awareness of the concepts of gender and masculinity, develop tools that contribute to promoting gender equality and change the stereotypes towards gender roles. The trainer, Fatima Da’an, defined and explained the concepts of gender and the differences between the terms “sex” and “gender” using interactive exercises and activities. Thus, the young men and young women participants learned about gender-specific tools, understood male and female patterns and deconstructed gender stereotypes.
During the training, the participants were able to share their personal experiences regarding their roles and the change taking place in those roles through socialization. They further discussed the effect of societal culture on the spread of harmful and negative stereotypes, the consequent violations of women’s rights and the changes in the Palestinian society that led to the change of roles and the concept of parental care.
Quotes from the participants
One of the participants, Khamis Al-Qadi, shared his experience saying: “The concept of family cooperation must be rooted in the culture and behavior of the individual, of which it will have a great reflection on all aspects of one’s life. Personally, I have encountered many cultural and social obstacles as a result of exercising my role as a partner in bearing household and family burdens. However, I challenged these obstacles with the help of my partner, of which I had a great role in influencing the people around me and strengthening their partnership and cooperation within their families.”
In turn, Mrs. Najat Abu Kweik said: “My participation in the “Partners” project was a distinguished experience that positively reflected on my personality from the first training on the concepts of gender and masculinity. During the training, I shared my personal experience regarding the great burdens I encounter inside and outside the house. Due to the society’s view and lack of acceptance of a man’s role inside the household, I had to individually carry the responsibilities. After this training, and from my belief in the importance of changing the prevailing culture on gender roles in the Palestinian society, I decided to implement the change from within, my family-my sons, daughters and grandchildren. I equally distributed their roles inside and outside the home in order to achieve justice.”
ABOUT THE PROJECT
It is worth noting that the young men and young women participants in this training have positive behaviors and orientations in regards to domestic work, of which they are direct beneficiaries of the “Partners” project. This project seeks to enhance men’s awareness of positive practices in regards to gender and how men’s identities and relationships with others can be formed on the basis of gender equality. “Partners” also aims to raise the participants’ awareness on the concepts of masculinity and gender as well as the inclusion of public policies, such as paternity leave-in ten civil society organizations and unions- that enable men to spend more time at home doing household chores and caring for their children. This training comes as part of a series of meetings, including peer and dialogue sessions that will be implemented over 18 months in cooperation with the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee and the NGO Development Center and in partnership with UN Women.