Monday-Setting the stage

Guiding questions

  • What do we mean when we say "changing harmful Attitudes, Norms and Behaviours that perpetuate VAWG/GBV" in our programs. 
  • What is the scope of the topic we will be discussing

el sumario | Summaries, group#1 (en español | English)

En casos como el cubano el Estado tiene políticas sociales fuertes que se basan en el trato igualitario a mujeres y hombres. Es necesario continuar trabajando para que el Estado asuma que la violencia contra las mujeres es un problema, que hay que enfocar de manera intersectorial y que no necesariamente se trata de que fallaron sus políticas de igualdad, tambien influyen la cultura machista y los contextos cambiantes. De ahí que sea difícil asumir la violencia contra las mujeres en el discurso oficial.

In cases like the one in Cuba, the state has strong social policies based in equality of treatment for women and men.  It's necessary to continue working so that the state accepts that violence against women is a problem, that they have to focus on it in an intersectoral way, and that it's not necessarily that their equality policies have failed, as they also influence the machista culture and the changing contexts.  It is difficult for violence against women to be accepted in the official discourse.

Se necesitan análisis de contexto específicos, aunque el fenómeno patriarcal comparte características a lo largo del globo. 

Specific context analyses are required, despite the fact that the patriarchy phenomenon shares similar characteristics across the globe. 

Importancia de utilizar abordajes más integrales, no sólo trabajar con grupos específicos. Hay que trabajar con mujeres, niñas, pero también con instituciones, ya que éstas pueden ayudar a impulsar cambios en esas instituciones. Y no sólo instituciones en el sentido oficial, también con grupos que reifican la violencia, como es el caso de las pandillas en el contexto centroamericano. 

It is important to start using more holistic approaches, not only work with specific groups. It is necessary to work with women, girls, but also with institutions, as these are change enablers. By institutions we do not only mean institutions in an official sense, but also certain groups that "reify" violence, such as gangs in the Central American context. 

Es necesario entender cómo se asimila el cambio de normas en determinados "colectivos" son percibidos inicialmente por las mujeres como es el caso de las comunidades indígenas. Las mujeres pueden sentir que denunciar es traicionar la lealtad a sus comunidades, lo que fortalece la impunidad. 

It is necessary to understand how change in norms in certain collectives are initially perceived by women, as in the case of indigenous communities. Women can feel that if they denounce norms, they are betraying their communities, which can reinforce impunity. 

El Estado apoya y crea barreras, en muchas ocasiones utilizando la excusa de la cultura para justificar la resistencia al cambio. (Ejemplo de ello es el caso de Mozambique y el código penal, con un claro cariz machista, que los tomadores de decisión justifican en aras a la cultura) 

States support and create barriers, many times using the excuse of culture to justify resistance to change. (Example of Mozambique and the criminal code, with a clear sexist bias, which decision makers justify in base of culture) 

El papel de las comunidades y la familia en fortalecer las creencias es fuerte, en el caso de Mozambique un ejemplo claro son los ritos de iniciación, donde niñas de  6 a 8 años aprenden cómo servir a su marido. Después de estos ritos muchas niñas dejan de ser escolarizadas. Qué puede hacerse para cambiar esas creencias, y cambiarlas de forma sostenible?  Es algo muy dificil. Incluso cuando se consiguen avances, cuando en dos meses se vuelve a la comunidad ha habido de nuevo retrocesos y cambios en esas creencias. 

The role of family and communities in the reinforcement of believes is very strong. In the case of Mozambique "initiation rites" is a clear example. Girls between 6 and 8 years old learn how to serve their future husbands. After going through these rites many women leave school. What can we do to change these beliefs, and do it in a sustainable manner? It is very difficult. Even when progress is achieved, coming back some months later to the community setbacks regarding believes can be noticed. 

En el contexto latinoamericano los Estados son débiles, así que cuando la sociedad civil dirige sus demandas hacia ellos deben ser conscientes de en qué momento se encuentran y de sus responsabilidad como actor clave en los cambios sociales. 

In the Latinamerican context States are weak. That is why when civil society address their demands towards the State, civil society must be aware of the moment they are in and their responsibility as a key actor in social changes. 

Los medios de comunicación son un actor clave a la hora de establecer estereotipos, perpetuando creencias sociales sobre lo que significa y lo que debería ser un mujer. (en relación a esto). Series, música... todo esto genera procesos sociales que permean facilmente en la sociedad. 

Media is a key actor in establishing stereotypes, perpetuating social beliefs about what gender means and what a woman should be. (related to this) We do not pay enough attention to the culture industry, as they set values (both positively and negatively). Series, music... all of this generates social processes and permeates in society easily. 

Debemos comenzar a incidir en otras instancias diferentes a las tradicionales. Generalmente en el trabajo de Violencia contra las Mujeres trabajamos mucho con los Ministerios de Justicia, pero es importante empezar a hacerlo también con los Ministerios de educación. Influir en los docentes, que perpetúan la educación en roles que generan violencia. 

We should start to advocate for new structures. In VAW work we have worked a lot with Justice Ministries but we should be aware that Education Ministries (among others) should be targeted too. Influencing teachers is important as they help to perpetuate education models that generate violence. 

Summaries, group#2 (English)

One theme that emerged was power - Nellie from Southern Africa was attracted to notion of 'balancing' power as a way to not threaten the other side, and wondered whether it was a good approach to openly talk about power.  Lisa Vetten, one of our invited experts, pointed out however that this concept risks depoliticising our struggle - overall she noted that the conversation did not problematise power sufficiently and she encouraged us to consider what are the 'necessary and sufficient' conditions for change: can tinkering at individual level really shift power? 

Another theme, raised by Connor and others,  was the limits of linear approaches that assume you change individual attitudes which leads to behaviour change which leads to norm change which leads to ending violence.  Several people spoke about change being far messier than that.  Sipho, the South Africa ED, asked how do we disrupt?  Anil from India asked how do we get a breakthrough?  I (Laurie) asked is good old fashioned community organising and conscientisation the only or best avenue given Tostan (which had been cited several times by one of the panelists) has after 25 years not yet shifting norms deeply?  Ranu from India and several others talked about the need to get donors to not have short term funding and demand input output outcome scenarios that are just not realistic given. 

We talked about role of governments.Elizabeth wondered what role governments could play in shifting norms.  Ranu encouraged us to unpack what is government and not see it as monolithic and Jocelyn of Uganda noted governments are made up of individuals and we need to reach them as such.  She gave an example of how they had managed to engage with traditional leaders working with clan institutions after realising that this is a key stakeholder missed in the original power analysis. 

Helen was struck about how culture is reinvented and distorted to justify misogyny, leaders use it to justify their own personal interests and beliefs. An emerging conclusion (although we didn't have time to actually conclude) based on this example and others  was on Local being a critical area.  People don't do what they see a president doing or talking about - far more likely to be influenced by their core identity group. 

In conclusion we recognised that this is a very complex issue to analyse and understand how to shift - but what is simple is the absolute necessity to do so, and that as Anja pointed out one key part of this is looking at and understanding ourselves. 

Le sommaire | Summaries, group#3 (en français | English)

Les participantes/participants ont discuté des points suivants:
  • Il est difficile d’évaluer et documenter les changements de comportement avec des données permettant de faire ressortir les interventions efficaces. Quelles données collecter et comment les collecter? Quels sont les défis reliés au suivi des changements durables en matière d’ANC, en particulier après la fin des programmes/projets? Dans cette optique, il est essentiel de construire des alliances et partenariats locaux forts pour garantir un suivi durable des impacts et changements. Enfin, l’attribution des changements à certaines actions est une question cruciale pour mesurer l’impact de notre travail.
  • Sur l’importance de se concentrer sur les changements d’ANC versus des interventions dans d’autres domaines, il est important d’adopter une approche intégrée qui inclut entre autres le travail sur les ANC, à tous les niveaux, mais aussi le travail de plaidoyer, notamment auprès du gouvernement dans son rôle de création d’un environnement légal favorable comme base de travail vers un changement durable (référence au Cadre Conceptuel de Gender at Work).
  • Il est essentiel d’adapter les interventions identifiées comme efficaces dans certains contextes à notre contexte de travail.
  • Des inquiétudes ont été exprimées relativement à la montée de l’intégrisme religieux et son lien possible avec l’augmentation des VFFF, soulignant aussi l’usage de la culture comme justification à la violence. Il est cependant essentiel de faire la distinction entre la religion et les interprétations qui en sont faites, ainsi que l’ont souligné certains panélistes mentionnant des « traditions inventées récemment » pour justifier les VFFF. Il a été suggéré de se référer au travail d’AWID sur les approches de la religion à travers une perspective de genre.


Participants discussed the following points:
  • It is difficult to support and document changes in behaviors with evidence to highlight effective interventions. Which evidence to collect and how to collect it? What are the challenges related to monitoring durable changes in ANB, especially after the end of a program/project? To this end, it is crucial to build strong local alliances and partnerships in order to guarantee sustainable monitoring of impact and change. Finally attribution of change to certain actions is an essential question to measure the impact of our work.
  • On the importance of focusing on ANB changes versus interventions in other areas, it is essential to adopt an integrated approach, which would include work on ANB, at all levels, but also influencing work, especially emphasizing the role of the government in creating an enabling environment as the basis for the work towards sustainable change (refer to the Gender at Work’s Conceptual Framework).
  • It is essential to adapt interventions which were considered effective in other contexts to our actual working context.
  • Some participants raised concerns related to the rise of religious conservatism and its possible link to an increase in the prevalence of VAWG, highlighting as well the use of culture as a justification for violence. It however remains essential to distinguish between religion and the interpretation made of it, as panelists reported some “recently invented traditions” to support VAWG. It was suggested to have a look at AWID’s work on how to address religion through a gender lens.

Summaries, group#4 (English)

  • Need of defining what changes in Attitudes and Beliefs actually means. Difference between attitudes and social norms. We need to tackle both
  • Beliefs might come from a very profound and deep source within the individual and it is difficult to address.
  • How can we talk abouth the "unspeakable" taboos, those myths that nobody wants to address.
  • What creates the social norms? We need to understand where these norms come from, how they are formed. We normally don't go that deep in our programs. We need to understand who is "piss off" when we challenge those norms? who does these norms serve?
  • Culture used as distractive tool
  • What are these positive norms we try to achieve? how do we get there? Important to work with young men and boys before they become "embedded" but the negative norms
  • Change is not a lineal process and we need to address that as well and inflence donors to understand that.
  • Foundamental element on our interventions is to try and understand and discover the social norms of a particular community and where those come from.
  • Role of the states: how do we engage with them? We need to recognize they are/could be partners but they are part of the problem and that needs to be addressed.
  • Working with men: women's organisations must lead these interventions. We don't want savors or protectors, We need the reformulation of roles: it is about transformating power relations.

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