Connecting local responses around the world
Hi friends, it's been a long time since I do not share with you in this platform, but these days I came to think about how we are looking as SALT practitioners at this issue, gender, that is in everybody's agenda recently. Are we really paying enough attention or, if enough, in the right perspective?
When I came in touch with The Constellation, my main work within the response to HIV was focused on gender inequality, on how women were affected by the virus to a greater extent than men, not only because of biological issues but mainly because of the manifest power imbalance between them.
So one of my first contributions to the Self Assessment was to propose a practice on gender. A practice to help us highlight the issue of gender inequality. The evolution of CLCP has been that practices are linked to the community dream so we do not propose practices anymore: they come directly from the dream. Thus, gender comes about explictly only when the community sees it as one factor of change toward its dream.
My question here is if gender issues, being deeply imbedded in social, comunity, and even individual relationships in such a way that it defines the very system in which we operate, are sufficiently taken into account and addressed. I am convinced that the structure that sustains gender inequality goes far beyond men and women, far beyond a single practice, and I also believe that a deep understanding of the enourmous implications of inequality in our dealing with communities is very necessary.
SALT promotes equality, but where there is a deep power gap, equality can only alleviate it, not balance it. In those cases, equity is needed, forcing us to know better and more concretely the specific needs and strengths of the people involved (men, women, young or old, with or without social status/power).
A gender perspective, looking to situations through gender lenses, proposes a more attentive look to a given situation; a situation that does not take into account diversity but instead puts us, almost without us being aware of it, on a scale of power in which we seem to be obliged to stay in a position which is either above or below others.
In my opinion, this is a necessary conversation even today and I'm curious to know if anyone else thinks that is the case. How do we understand gender dynamycs? How can we deactivate it? Are we aware of its impact in and within communities? How do we think we are including this in our work?
I do not think this is only about politics of social fight but on how look at ourselves and our relationships. And of course, it is about strengths and how to contribute to reveal those strengths.
Don't you think?