It was observed that to mainstream gender discussions into classrooms it is imperative that teachers have the required facilitation skills. Population First in collaboration with SNDT University’s Women’s Resource Centre and Department of PGDSR had developed four modules to promote facilitation skills among the teachers, which are being disseminated widely among the teachers.
The module is divided into four sections; Feminist Methodology, Gender & Media, Gender & Patriarchy and Gender Violence, written by Professor Veena Poonacha, Dr. A.L. Sharada, Dr. Gita Chaddha and Prof. Vibhuti Patel. respectively. A series of two-day workshops were organized to test the module before publishing it. Details about the workshop are given below:
August 25 -26, 2011SNDT University, Churchgate campus
Ambedkar College, K. J. Somaiya College and Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work and various colleges under SNDT.
November 30th and December 1st, 2011SNDT University, Churchgate campus
S.P.N. Doshi College, PVDT College, MMP Shah College, K. J. Somaiya College, Xavier’s College, Gokhale College, K.C College
December 14 - 15, 2011SNDT University, Churchgate campus
Elphinstone College, Bhavan’s College, Gokhale College, Tolani College, Sophia College, BM Ruia College, SNDT- PVDT College, PGSR College, Maniben College
The engagement with the participant teachers was continued through a series of workshops which gave them an opportunity to try/ experience the facilitation techniques
Workshop on Contemporary Feminist Theories
In response to the request by teachers attending our earlier workshops to discuss ‘feminist theory’, Population First organized a workshop titled “Contemporary Feminist Theories” on January 20, 2012, at the Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre, Mumbai,. The presenters explained how feminist theory could be taken to the classroom in a simplified and interesting form to ensure that students are able to understand and interpret these theories appropriately.
The resource persons for the workshop were drawn from the teachers who had attended earlier facilitation workshops along with Dr Gita Chaddha one of the module writers,. Totally 15 participants attended the workshop. Vinita Bhatia of St Xavier’s College gave a session on “Post modernist Feminist Theory”. Lee George of St. Xavier’s College gave a session on “Post Colonial feminist thought”. Dr. Vibhuti Patel of SNDT conducted a session on “Eco feminism”. Chitra Lele of SNDT University conducted a session on “Psychoanalytic Feminism”. Namrata Ganneri gave a session on “Dalit Feminism” and Dr Gita Chaddha conducted a session on “Queer Feminism”. This workshop provided teachers with feminist literature, which can be introduced to the college curriculum.
Workshop on Identity Politics
Identity politics play a major role in election campaigns around India. Often times, polarizing the masses based on caste, religion and region, wins elections but disrupts harmony among various groups in society. The election campaigns in Uttar Pradesh in 2012 were no different. To counter political rhetoric, which feeds on the identity sentiment amongst the public, Population First organized a workshop on “Identity Politics” on 26th April 2012, at SNDT Women’s University.
Thirteen teachers and three students from SNDT University, St Xavier’s College and Ambedkar College attended the workshop. The workshop began with the screening of a film, titled, “Ayodhya to Varanasi – Prayers for Peace”, directed by Suma Jasson. This was followed by a discussion on the issue of identity politics in India and other countries as well. Dr. Veena Poonacha, Director of the Research Centre for Women’s Studies, SNDT Women’s University held an interactive session for the attendees. “Religion-based politics have become a medium to deflect public attention from the real socio-economic problems of minority communities and weaker sections of society”, she stated.
Teachers Look at Media through a Gender Lens
A workshop on “Looking at Media through a Gender Lens” was organized for college teachers in collaboration with SNDT Women’s University on July 4 2012. Teachers from Gokhale College, Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, KC College, St Xavier’s College, Bhavan’s College, Usha Pravin Gandhi College of Management and colleges affiliated to SNDT University attended the workshop. The objective of the workshop was to help teachers understand how perceptions of gender influence media and vice-versa. It helped the participants analyze media through a gender lens.