January 27th, 2010

So what is Feminism all about anyway?

By Priyanka Awasthi

If you’re reading this you’re likely to be an AWARE member or someone with an interest in women’s or gender issues. But just what are women’s and gender issues? What is the whole ‘women’s movement’ or ‘feminism’ all about, really?

It is to answer questions such as these that AWARE has put together a crash course on gender sensitization for members and volunteers. Many members have asked for information about feminism and the history of the women’s movement and related matters, so the AWARE Training Institute (ATI) will soon launch the Gender Core Curriculum programme.

The programme, which will cover topics such as the women’s movement, feminism, and awareness of gender issues, aims to stimulate thought and discussion on issues like gender equality, relationships between women and men in family, the workplace and society and the rights and responsibilities of women and men.

ATI will be conducting some test runs of the programme in late February and early March and would like to invite members to sign up for these sessions. Details of how you can sign up are at the bottom of this article.

There will be three parts to the programme:

History of Feminism

Industrialisation brought economic prosperity but it also gave rise to a growing awareness of the inequalities in society based on gender.  Women began to ask “Why are we not allowed to vote?’ and the suffragette movement was born. This part of the programme runs through the key points to date  the fight for women’s rights.

Debunking the Myths

This session offers enlightenment on the myths around feminism. How did these myths or fairy tales come about and get transferred from one generation to the other?  One example, why is it that passive women get the handsome and debonair Prince while the active women are mostly wicked step mothers and witches?

What does a feminist look like?

This is a hands-on workshop that will explore the four tenets of feminism: Woman and Body, Women at Home, Women in the Public Sphere, and Women and Culture.

This workshop will aim to unravel participants’ relationship with the term “feminist” using images, questions and participants’ personal experiences as departure points.  And it will seek to answer three questions:

  • What does it mean to be a feminist today in Singapore?
  • What are feminist values for you?
  • What contributions to the feminist cause can be made today in globalised, economy-driven Singapore?

If you would like to take part in the test runs of the programme or have any questions,please send email to priyanka@aware.org.sg or call 6779-7137.

Priyanka is a Programme Executive with AWARE.

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