We had the second Gender Lab retreat and it was an intense and profound exploration where we touched upon the deep systemic forces shaping our current reality. Here we would like to share our first learnings:
Our amazingly diverse cohort of explorers are from:
Learnings so far
There are many different perspectives on this topic, and different ways to look at an ideal future. Language is important, and we need to be aware of our own blind spots when falling into the binary man/woman. It’s a topic that’s inherently systemic but never not personal. The four clusters that were formed so far: inclusive language, power dynamics, entry points/dialogue and parenting/education.
"The first retreat had a powerful impact on me. Through sharing openly our diverse experiences and perceptions with each other I learned more about gender equality than I ever could have through studying. Being out of our comfort zones and experiencing an unconventional and fresh way of approaching this topic has already given me new energy, curiosity and motivation - I am excited to continue this exploration and to see what solutions we will come up with!” - Anna Krebs, institutional project coordinator at Tdh
Methodologies in use:
Diving into discussions without formal introductions on who we are and what we do was very appreciated. The four levels of listening (Theory U) are a powerful tool. It’s important to take it slow when introducing embodiment practices and for example do another warm-up exercise before the stuck exercise. Less is more, and everything takes a little more time than expected. Our agreements (rules of engagement) help hold a safe space. People struggle or have resistance with different aspects of the methodology at different times. The theories we use are sometimes abstract and difficult to grasp, especially when it’s something we culturally are resistant towards, so clear explanations are important. To do this work we must start with ourselves.
“Gender equality is a big issue for our society and it is crucial to achieve more for marginalised and discriminated groups. The gender lab is a great opportunity to raise awareness, create visibility and develop solutions to change the system. With people from very different backgrounds, this project is very intersectional and diverse. Through it, I got in touch with people I would never have worked with otherwise, my boundaries got pushed and my horizon was enlarged. Thank you for these new perspectives, it is helpful and insightful.” - Pascal Pajic, Member of the National Board of JUSO Schweiz and medical student in Fribourg
Questions we hold
- What does gender equality even mean?
- Whose voices are we missing?
- How can we transform ourselves and shed our biases?
- How can we avoid repeating patterns in our own efforts to change the system?
- What’s our contribution to the system?
- Where do we find power dynamics at play, what is their root cause, and how can we disrupt them?
- Do we need to get rid of the genders and labels completely or can there be a spectrum with a healthy masculine and healthy feminine?
- How do we talk about this with those not interested?
Das Eidgenössische Büro für die Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann unterstützt das Projekt mit Finanzhilfen nach dem Gleichstellungsgesetz.