It was time for one of the most anticipated modules of our Open Minds, Young Voices (OMYV) youth activist programme – ‘From Paternalism to Gender equality: Creating Equal Opportunity for Development’. Not even the downpour in Abuja held our youth activists from the day’s discussion on the controversial topic of Feminism and Patriarchy.
Facilitator and Gender Expert, Dr Adaora Osondu-Oti, guided the participants to unbundle the concepts of gender, patriarchy and paternalism. The interactive session saw participants express their personal and perceived notions of gender ranging from gender roles and gender division of labour. The group further analysed how the socialisation of masculinity and femininity has influenced gender stereotypes within our social institutions and systems. They debated strategies for challenging gender stereotypes, like a well-defined gender analysis framework to guide the implementation of Gender Action Plans. They also debated cultural norms and religious beliefs as barriers to flexible gender roles.
The second day saw the youths focussed on the nexus of gender and development. Some participants involved in development activities shared their experiences of contributing to gender-sensitive development projects. Dr Osondu-Oti introduced gender mainstreaming as a strategy and tool to achieving gender-equitable and sensitive outcomes to build fair societal institutions for women and men.
The transformative effect of the module was clear as the activists committed to saying NO to the patriarchy system where males dominate, oppress and exclude females, in power relations, in private and public spheres!
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