Good Women/Bad Women
Society works in ways that divide us. At one level, this is done by establishing a set of rules about what ‘women’ (and ‘men’) should and should not do. When we do not play by those societal rules, we are seen as different and not a part of our communities. We start thinking that those who are different in some way or don’t play by the rules are not ‘good’ women. But playing by the rules does not keep us safe or guarantee that we get the things we need to be healthy and fulfilled so we need to question this division and categorisation. We need to ask what it means for our movement building work - if we only collaborate and mobilise with people who ‘look’ or act like us, can we be strong? Can we create a world where everyone is safe and welcome? How can we work together, creating alliances that complement our diverse strengths and capacities?
Heart, Mind, Body Mapping
This activity uses body mapping to identify how fears, tension and stress are affecting our lives, how that relates to systems of oppression and how we can strategize for dealing with them.
How Do We Negotiate?
In approaching a conflict we often come up with a solution that we think is perfect without considering other options. We develop arguments to defend it and it becomes our position, often hard and fast. And yet when we work to solve conflicts, we limit ourselves if we analyze or deal with disputes only from the stance of fixed positions. When we hang onto a position and forget the deeper interests and needs we’re negotiating, we leave our central points out of the discussion and diminish our possibilities of achieving what we want. This constitutes one of the risks of only negotiating based on fixed positions. If, however, we negotiate based on the needs and interests of the people involved, we multiply the possible solutions because frequently there are several ways to meet everybody’s needs. When we build solutions collectively with the parties involved in the conflict, we often reach solutions that we hadn’t originally contemplated but that allow us to advance in our interests and positively transform the conflict. As women and movement activists, it is important for us to develop new ways of relating among ourselves that increase our collective power and collaboration rather than cause division and distrust. The problem is that in trying to defend our positions, we can end up undermining each other’s credibility and intelligence and dismissing people’s feelings and emotions. These are learned patterns of behavior that often surface in conflict, and in the case of women only affirm the cultural belief that we are conflictual and don’t stick together. For this reason, it is very important to reach agreements and develop processes that transform the ways we relate to one another.
How Do We Want to Exercise Leadership?
1 Hr 15Min
Having people review their visions of leadership can be a compelling way to help them critically reflect on power and gender as well as their own leadership styles and the need for changes in their approaches and in those of women leaders in general.
Introduction to Feminism
45Min 1 Hr
Using a simple social analysis tool, women examine their own understanding of feminism and other perspectives about its meaning as well. This process opens up a dialog on what feminism means to different people and how it is perceived. It provides a first step in analyzing and demystifying feminism.
Loaded Paper-Ball Throw
This is a fun way to review content from prior sessions or discussion in a participatory way. It is often used during a workshop of several days as a way to start the day or a new session which builds on prior discussions by collectively reviewing and re-energizing content.
Strategy planning demands an understanding of the political players who will care about, fight over, and be affected by your strategy. This information is needed to forge alliances and build support as well as guide opposition and assess risk. In this mapping process the group will look at: who is at the decision making table, what is on the table and who or what is “under the table”, in other words impacting and influencing the decisions.
Master's House: The House of Oppression
This is an entry level activity designed to help participants to start thinking about, and understanding patriarchy and the various systems of oppression by visually constructing them in a ‘Master’s House’.
Meditative Relaxation for Heart, Mind and Body
In our work, we often contend with stress, difficulty and fear which impacts our bodies, minds and spirits. This activity helps us relax, center and find calm in a simple way.
Naming the Current Political Moment
This exercise uses a timeline process but focuses on the current political situation in a given country -- sometimes called naming the moment or a “conjunctural” analysis.
Openings and Closings
This activity can be used in multiple ways as an initial exercise for introductions or as a game to start off an evening of informal conversation.
Our Personal Approach to Conflict: Analysis and Reflection
1 Hr 30Min
Understanding and naming factors that influence how we see and deal with conflicts helps us more effectively respond to them. It develops both our personal power and capacity as individuals and as a group.
Our Rights, Our Safety: Resources for Women Human Rights Defenders
This manual was produced by JASS (Just Associates) in collaboration with the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders and the support of International Service for Human Rights, Calala Fondo de Mujeres and Central American Women’s Fund (FCAM).It is intended for people who work at the local and community level, and particularly for human rights activists and defenders who are facing various risks and forms of violence in their struggle to build a more just world. It contains information and educational processes born of the valuable experiences and knowledge of women and their movements in different parts of the world, and is designed to help deepen the vision, analysis and practices necessary to creating a safer environment for the defense of human rights.
Patriarchy: Cases and analysis from everyday life
Unpacking the dynamics of patriarchy is key to developing powerful, collaborative, loving and generous activists and leaders. A series of case studies provide one way of analyzing how the web of patriarchy plays out in people’s lives.
Patterns of Power
This activity engages a group in acting out familiar power dynamics in different aspects of life to better “see” them and to explore what changes would make them equitable and just.
Power Analysis for Strategy
This activity builds on the power analysis introduced in Understanding Power Over to enable a group to apply the power framework to specific organizing issues in their context both to understand the dynamics of power over they are up against and think through strategies for change.
Power and Powerlessness
This activity is designed to begin a discussion of power by exploring people’s experiences of power and powerlessness. It serves as an introduction to “power over”, or oppressive power, and the sources of our own power to transform our lives and make change.
Power Flower: Our Intersecting Identities
1 Hr 45Min
Every one of us has multiple, nuanced identities that help form our lives. Just as our own identities are complex so too are those of the women we work with. Gender, race, ethnicity, age, education, among others intersect and interact to shape who we are and what challenges and contradictions we confront. As an introduction to a broader analysis of power, the Power Flower promotes a fuller understanding of intersectionality that helps us become more integrated and sensitive human beings and more effective leaders and activists.
Problem Identification and Prioritization
This activity helps a group review problems in the community, and then using a set of criteria it has defined, determine which present the best avenues for action.
Problem Tree Analysis: Problems, Causes and Consequences
This exercise is used to analyze the root causes of a problem and to identify the primary consequences. The tree provides a visual structure for the analysis.