Art workshop raises awareness on the role of young people in promoting gender equality
On 8 December, UN Women organised a dialogue and art workshop where over 30 young women from across the country addressed the role of young people in promoting gender equality and combating violence against girls and women.
Initiatives to prevent violence against women and girls must start early, by educating and creating a context for dialogue between young people to promote harmonious relations and gender equality. Effective prevention strategies must involve young people as leaders, participants and agents of change.
The event featured three panels. The first part of the event was an informative session moderated by representatives of the Feminismd Initiative Group. The session addressed relevant statistics on gender-based violence and its connection with the education system in the Republic of Moldova, including information about sexualised bullying, as well as other relevant topics on the importance of sex education in schools.
The first panel was followed by an informal dialogue, which was attended by Mariana Țurcan, Advisor on Education to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova; Pernilla Nordvall, Political Affairs Secretary at the Embassy of Sweden in Chișinău; and Dominika Stojanoska, country representative UN Women Moldova. The discussion addressed the fight against gender stereotypes, prevention strategies to eradicate violence against girls and women and solutions to accelerate the elimination of violence. They also discussed the essential role of education in creating a favourable environment for the promotion of gender equality, which was followed by an interactive Q&A session.
"I would like to believe that you, generation equality, are the ones who can make a change,” said Mariana Țurcan, Advisor on Education to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova. “From early childhood, we women are exposed to phrases meant to knock us down. It's our decision, being the sum of all the knowledge and information we accumulate, to act or not. We will not be able to change the world, but we are able to make ourselves heard. I believe in actions".
During the event, Dominika Stojanoska, country representative UN Women Moldova, came with a call to combat the normalisation of discrimination and gender-based violence. "I wish I had dialogues at your age about gender equality, the role of women and men in society,” she began. “From early childhood, girls are taught to be quiet, submissive, to dream of becoming wives and mothers, to educate children, to embrace social or educational professions, because they would be more suitable for them. Whereas boys are taught to be strong, make money, be leaders in the family, community and society. That needs to change. I'm sure you understand that this is not acceptable".
Pernilla Nordvall, Political Affairs Secretary at the Embassy of Sweden in Chișinău, expressed her confidence in the power of younger generations to change the future of the country. "When it comes to gender equality, the principle we focus on is that all people are important, equal and have the same fundamental rights,” she said, explaining that gender equality is not about competing with men or boys but about looking at everyone as a whole. “Speaking of young people, I think you have every reason to believe in your own power,” she said. “It is the young generation who goes hand in hand with the older generations. You fight ideas that can be out-dated and come up with new perspectives for the discussion table".
Since creativity generates innovative ideas, the participants took part in a workshop where they painted T-shirts, which was facilitated by Irina Brașoveanu, the founder the fashion brand Brașoveanka. Through art and the creative process, the young women learned how to recognise different forms of violence: physical, sexual, emotional, social and economic. The illustrations they made on T-shirts generated new ideas on how to involve young people in promoting a society without gender-based violence.
The event was organised as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign carried out annually in collaboration with public authorities, international organisations and civil society about the need to eradicate gender-based violence and create a world where girls and women feel safe. The campaign’s theme this year is "UNITE! Activism to eliminate violence against women and girls" and its distinctive visual element remains the orange colour, which signifies a bright and secure future for every woman and girl.