Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute

Hamngatan 4
AX-22100 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland
Tel. +358 18 15570
peace@peace.ax
For more contact information click here.

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Publication about
the Åland Example

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Read more here.

In cooperation with its partner organizations the Åland Islands Peace Institute has worked with and contributed to the development of various empowerment methods.

As a result of various projects and co-operations, manuals, evaluation and reports concerning methods for empowerment work have been published. Links to some of this material can be found here.

Discussion groups with gender perspective

Girl Groups
tjejgrupp1webbThe girl group method has been developed in the Nordic countries, mainly in Sweden, Finland and the Åland Islands. A girl group consists of six to eight teenage girls within a specific age group who meet regularly under the guidance of one or two female leaders. The main focus lies on discussion and reflections on gender relations in the society with the aim to question the gender power structure and stereotypical perceptions of gender roles. It is the girls themselves who suggest topics for discussion and other activities. The goal is to strengthen the girls' self-esteem and self-awareness as well as to provide them with tools for formulating their opinions and expressing their views. Besides, the girl group method is aimed at promoting individual development, training the skills of democratic participation and cooperation and helping the girls to deal with various difficulties and challenges in life. In this way the method is also used for prevention of violence, sexual abuse and trafficking. The knowledge and skills that the girls gain through the group activities can facilitate their integration into society and make them more open to social changes.

Boy Groups
Boy group activities are organized in the same way as girl groups with a strong focus on gender equality and on building of an understanding of gender norms in society. The boy group serves as a place where the society's masculine norms and ideals are problematized and questioned. During the group meetings the boys are given an an opportunity to discuss topics that they are concerned or have questions about. Some of the important issues are violence in boys' daily lives, sensuality, attitudes towards women, etc. The purpose of boy groups is to strengthen the boys to make their own choices and decisions and to help them critically relate to the restrictive norms and values ??that surround us and influence our perceptions of how men and women, girls and women should be. The boy group activities can also lead to a broader life space for the boys and contribute to the change of attitudes towards violence, especially violence against women.

Discussion groups for women
Discussion groups for women provide women with a forum to discuss such issues that concern their lives, relationships, personal wellbeing as well as their roles in family and society. The link between gender stereotypes and discrimination against women is made visible and problematized. The meeting set-up promotes the exchange of opinions and experiences and empowers the participants to face challenges and handle crisis situations in life. Various interactive methods are used for building-up of women's self-esteem and self-respect. The groups meet once a month with one or two trained leaders.

Discussion groups for men
Discussion groups for men have similar goals and structure as groups for women. The group usually meets once a month and discusses relevant issues regarding family life, parental responsibilities, relationships and the society’s expectations towards men. Gender stereotypes that prevent men from developing strong emotional ties with their children are discussed and questioned. Peaceful conflict resolution and nonviolence are also important topics for the group discussion. Besides, the participants are invited to reflect on the consequences of traditional gender roles as well as the individual and societal benefits of gender equality for both men and women.

 

Educational workwith gender perspective

The Center for Women and Children Nendre in Vilnius has adopted the so-called gender pedagogy inspired by the Björntomtens kindergarten in Gävle, Sweden. The aim is to provide boys and girls with the same opportunities and conditions for personal growth, meeting of challenges and development of knowledge and skills without being hampered by the traditional gender roles. The staff has been trained to reassess their own attitudes, language and their notions of masculinity and femininity in order to treat all the children regardless of their sex. Gender education also aims to strengthen the children's self-esteem and self-awareness so that they can choose their own future based on their own will and personal interests instead of following the society expectations.


Social workwith gender perspective

The Center for Women and Children Nendre in Vilnius has developed a model for social work, which is based on the individual needs and perspectives of girls, boys, women and men. Social services are planned and adjusted to the family situation with the aim to strengthen the relationship between parents and children and to promote parental responsibility on an equal basis. Parents and other family members are invited to information and education sessions that highlight the issues of reproductive health and rights, equal division of household duties etc. Problems related to gender-based violence, sexual harassment and abuse are addressed and dealt with both with men and women in focus.

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