By: Luis Chacon
Salesian Family Youth Center was present at the “Training sessions in leadership and reduction of inequalities”
To be aware of the historical and cultural situations, some of our program leaders participated in the Training Days in Leadership and Reduction of Inequalities, which had female leadership as its central focus. This type of training that encourages female empowerment in today’s society has been carried out in honor of Mother Marguerite, the mother of Saint John Bosco. She became a noteworthy female leader and spiritual mother in Don Bosco’s oratory.
The conference’s concepts included leadership and reduction of gender inequality, leadership and female empowerment in Latin America, and reduction of gender inequality in the educational, familial, and social spheres.
The main talking point of the conference was gender. Defining gender to all aspects of individuals’ economic, social, daily, and private lives is essential, as one’s sex and how they are perceived by society often dictate and define each person’s characteristics and functions. Sadly, there is an undeniable inequality apparent in everyday life. Such inequality stems from gender ideology and from declaring the superiority of one gender over another. This destroys the idea of any sort of humanism.
Feminism proposes that the idea of a “weaker sex” should no longer exist by bringing about gender equality in all areas of life. It is postulated against patriarchy, not only takes away possibilities and opportunities from women but has also stolen opportunities from the man himself by reaffirming the man-made idea of a “traditional masculinity”. However, there are many different sides and ways of going about masculinity, not just the one that patriarchy proposes and defends. For this reason, it has been affirmed in these conferences that “feminism is the last of humanisms”.
In the statement regarding the “last of humanisms”, the need to break away from stereotypes and gender roles is recognized. The manner in which society and individuals can achieve breaking away from stereotypes is by educating them with a pedagogy of love and intervention actions instead of resorting to violence.
Intervention is necessary because the current human being is a being that is “produced” by culture and traditions. We must part with stereotypes while we do not want to break or lose our identity by parting with culture and traditions. To “educate new masculinities”, we must reveal symbolic and cultural violence in gender relations.
It is necessary to transform the patriarchal model by transforming imaginaries and using pedagogical, aesthetic, ethical, and political categories that allow men and women to relate to the world differently.
Patriarchy takes away the possibilities of equality for women and richer masculinity for men, but that is not the worst of it – the worst of it is that it undermines the dignity and integrity of the person, especially that of women. Violence accompanies the patriarchal vision, so we must broaden our outlook for humanization. We are diverse, and it is impossible to advocate for equality and dignity for all when one is actively discriminating against others.
In the patriarchal vision, the man is the leader and the woman is merely a subordinate follower. The stereotype must be broken. Breaking the patriarchal vision and allowing women to hold power positions is problematic because women face many obstacles that make this hard to achieve. Some of these obstacles can be poverty, geographic isolation (towns on the far outskirts of large cities), belonging to minorities or small ethnic groups, disabilities, gender-based violence, and the expectations established by traditional gender roles. When we all understand patriarchy and are aware of all that it entails, we will have taken the first step in reducing inequalities.
All types of violence have their origin in knowledge or/in the absence of it. An individual’s sense of reality comes directly from their upbringing, in terms of culture and tradition, as those two things are often crystals through which one views reality. If someone grows up in an environment that supports and carries out the patriarchal vision, then they will see everything through that perspective. Here is where psychological violence begins, which can later turn into physical violence if there is no educational intervention.
When we do not mention and acknowledge the female gender, the brain resorts to prioritizing the male perspective. Moreover, the division increases by deeming the female as invisible. When something is not named, it does not exist, so women are not seen as protagonists or leaders.
How can we educate new masculinities from a pedagogy of love?
- To train youth, children, and adults on diversity, coexistence, coeducation, another pattern of thought, and recognition.
- By favoring the process, research and diagnostic imaginary and reveal preexisting social representations.
- By desiging games, techniques that enable other forms of relationship, transformation of practices and roles.
- Joining campaigns in territorial alliances against discrimination, homophobia, and fear.
- Redefining what we understand by education, beyond technical and academic knowledge, also includes emotional, relational, and practical education.
- Betting on early childhood through coeducation:
- Jointly educating boys and girls, young people believe that there are different views and visions of the world, different experiences, ways of being men and women from non-binary opinions that should make up the collective worldview.
- Playing, challenging, and reflecting.
- Seeing, recognizing and enabling, widening gazes.
- Reviewing naturalized practices.
- Breaking the power of silence and fear.
- Forming, transforming, and deconstructing ourselves:
- Resignifying children’s songs and stories.
- Creating new versions and endings for stories and songs.