Regardless of many initiatives launched by the European Commission to tackle gender inequalities and non-discrimination, the recent European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights publications and research indicate that the progress is moving forward at a snail’s pace and in some domains is even going backwards. Training has a transformative power in changing people’s behaviours. In particular, gender and intersectionality training has proven to be a quintessential tool in affecting individual and collective transformation towards gender equality and social justice by raising awareness, encouraging knowledge sharing and skills development among participants.
From 20 to 24 February 2019, the European Youth Centre Budapest welcomed 21 EMA and ESN volunteers, 2 trainers, 2 guest speakers and 3 organizers for the Gender Equality and Intersectionality Lab in the framework of the ESAA (Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Alliance) project “Gender Equality and Intersectionality” implemented by Joana Xhemali. ESAA is an umbrella alliance of partner of partner organisations, supported by the European Commission.
The lab focused on fundamental feminist conceptualizations such as gender equality, intersectionality, identity, politics, power, discourse, and privilege. Through an experiential learning methodology, the international participants had the possibility to acquire knowledge and develop practical tools to get involved in bringing transformative change into their organizations and the work they carry out as volunteers. The training course provided a safe milieu to collectively discuss and question the current gender equality and non-discrimination legislation and praxes, envisioning alternative ways to bring social justice.
The Gender Equality and Intersectionality project also served to revitalize and strengthen the internal capacities of EMA Women’s and LGBT networks, solidifying the role these networks play in raising awareness about social justice, transnational solidarity, and care. Throughout the training course, participants gave significant contributions for the development of a toolkit on intersectional main streaming, which can be used as a resource by organizations, volunteers, and allies. This toolkit constitutes a practical guide for student and alumni organizations’ volunteers to acquire knowledge on intersectionality and the main concepts related to it. Moreover, it is a valuable tool which can be used as reference for exploring intersectional main streaming into organizational structures and cultures.
This toolkit is tantamount to the beginning of a transformative process wherein we strive to open up to multiple perspectives and learn from different voices and silences within our organizations. It allows reflection on the impact that our work as volunteers brings and forces our organizations to rethink their priorities and embrace difference and intersectionality in all its richness. This format unpacks the concept of intersectionality as a fundamental tool to achieve social justice, including a collection of checklists which interrogate specific working units through the lenses of intersectionality. Finally, it proposes a set of concrete recommendations that organizations can consider when dealing with decision-making, budgeting, communication, partnerships, and project development as well as organizational management issues.
Have a look at the Toolkit on Intersectional Mainstreaming here!