“Western housewifes & Eastern leaders”, our workshop at Autumn AGORA Zaragoza 2013

 "Western housewifes & Eastern leaders"During the Autumn AGORA Zaragoza 2013 the Eastern Partnership Project organised a workshop „Western Housewives & Eastern Leaders”. The plan was to discuss the woman role in different European societies. On our heterogeneous continent gender equality means different things.  We wanted to show this diversity and  break the stereotypes that still function.



In the first part of the workshop we explained the Eastern Partnership Project and the EU’s policy towards its Eastern neighbours.  Then we had a more interactive part when 35 participants had the chance to take part in vivid discussion. Prior to Agora we made a survey about the female roles, which was translated into 8 different languages and posted to several websites. The idea behind this was to see the reality, how people perceive themselves in their societies. So there were questions in the survey on what they do think about career opportunities or how do they see a successful woman in their society. In the end we collected 102 answers from 14 countries.

 "Western housewifes & Eastern leaders"The participants divided into small groups tried to guess what did people answer, for instance they were shown a phrase: “I think gender equality in public life means….” and a hint on a person profile who answered (ex. 18 years old woman from Azerbaijan).  They had a few minutes to discuss and write down their guess. Within this time they tried to make up possible answers and sometimes they had to argue with other perceptions. Participants were forced to face their own stereotypes while waiting for original answers and, straight after, every participant had the chance to explain if they were surprised or not.

Of course the 100 answers we collected did not show the diversity of women and the societies, and during this workshop we only had time to pick up some answers. But it was interesting to see the most typical ones, for example, the majority said that it is never justifiable for a man to hit a woman.  Or most women emphasised balance, understanding and love as important factors in order to feel equality in a couple.

The gender issues are very complex so it is hard to find a conclusion within such a short time. Nevertheless we hope that all the participants had the chance to look behind their stereotypes and to realise how different points of view we have.


Written by Roland Papp, Eastern Partnership Project

Workshop facilitators: Marta Wnuk and Roland Papp, both from Eastern Partnership Project