Working for gender equality is not new to InteRed. Neither is dedication to transformative education, both in the delegations in Spain and in the projects it supports or participates in in other countries.
After the campaigns Educating a woman is educating a people (2004), Equality for development: if women advance the world too (2006), Educating by adding, the formula for change (2009), Move for Equality. It's about justice (2009), Act with care. Transforms reality (2012), and its second phase The care revolution (2016), the Toca igualdad proposal is being offered since September in educational centers in several parts of Spain and will be extended to other places. It is a step forward in the line of work of this NGDO created by the Teresian Association. It brings together the experience acquired in twenty-seven years of work with women in countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia and the specialization in transformative, inclusive and quality education accumulated by the organization, as Ana Aranciabia, director of InteRed, points out.
Coeducation is not simply mixed education. Co-educate is to pass on a system of values, attitudes, behaviors, norms and expectations that does not presuppose results based on sex, nor is it hierarchized by classes or skin colors. Coeducation estimate differences and qualities and puts them on equal terms to reach performance. If in previous educational proposals InteRed put the focus on the feminization of poverty, care or sustainability, now, with this emphasis on coeducation, youth is placed at the center to attack the causes of different forms of sexist violence and prevent them.
The process follows a methodology based in experience, through the work in the classroom. First we need to make young people, from 12 to 25 years, to be aware and sensitive to sexist clichés and violences. Then comes the formation of groups and mobilizition of leaders that help to extend the scope of the workshops in each educational center, says Clara Urbano, responsible for InteRed campaigns. "We help break the silence and to act collectively."
Also teachers and families are involved so that the actions don't fade out with time, but permeate and support the transformation, "much needed today also by the social and political environment in which there is a boom in fundamentalisms" , points Urbano.
Toca igualdad is funded by the AECID, Spanish Agency for International Development and Cooperation.
María Monjas, an InteRed Madrid Educational specialist, has already experienced in schools how boys and girls participated in the workshops. She underlines the importance of highlighting the positive effects of this proposal to attract young men who often have difficulties in identifying violence suffered by adolescents and young girls. They also ignore the limits that sexist roles put on them as men. We can help to go beyond, to look at it not as something individual but questioning the patriarchal system, the causes.
A group of boys and girls protagonists of these workshops attended the public event to present the proposal on January 30 in the afternoon. "I think it's important to learn to say no," said a young girl. “I have realized what girls feel when we discriminate against them and I have also seen that there are many micro sexists behavior,” said one boy. "The boys should be feminists, to put an end to these violences" he added.
The steps they propose in this educational action are:
- To identify the macho violence in our day to day and break the complicit silence that makes them possible.
- To dismantle how sexist violence works and its multiple causes globally to be able to change them.
- To act individually and collectively from the educational community to build a society free of sexist violence.
The four areas or axes on which InteRed's coeducational proposal is based are: putting the care of people and the planet at the center; recognize and celebrate the richness of the diversity of identities as a value in positive; promote a respectful and quality affective-sexual education; the prevention of sexist violence and zero tolerance for any violence. They are cross lines that cover all the subjects and educational areas.
More than ever
Benita-Tania Cordero Vizcaíno, an African-American peasant woman from the Dominican Republic, from the National Confederation of Peasant Women CONAMUCA; and Ana Esperanza Tubac Culajay, a Mayan Kaqchiquel woman from Guatemala, general coordinator of the Association Integral Group of Women AGIMS, recount how in the organizations they lead, in cooperation with InteRed, contribute to improve the situation of women threatened by violence, discrimination, racism ... They support this campaign and point out the progress they have seen in their lives and in their communities, although there is still so much to do. Education, training in human rights and political participation are the basis for this even more necessary work, in all latitudes, when fundamentalisms and denialism want to reverse the small or large conquests of years of struggle. More than ever it's equality time.