Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dynamics of the CSW Gathering

I say this with care and with reverence to my own gender, but there was ALOT of estrogen in the room yesterday! As all the Lehigh students served as volunteers throughout the day, the busiest time, by far, was the registration time period in the early morning. There was some chaos, some confusion, and we as "official volunteers" had to sort through it all and respond cordially and helpfully. As I stood at the main door and was charged with greeting people (primarily women, but not completely!), I was interested in the conference attendees' reactions to my "Good Mornings!" Some women met my greeting head on and responded in kind. Others mumbled something or other, and yet others averted their gaze, seemingly as if they had no interest in interacting or perhaps they were shy. During this time period and subsquent others during the day, I was struck by the actual dynamics of this primarily female gathering. As Katey mentioned in her post, it was indeed refreshing to have men participate and be visible and vocal. It was interesting how some women in group discussions that I monitored seemed to be quite vociferous, while others were more meek and timid, thus reinforcing age-old gender stereotypes of being seen and not heard. I look forward to breakout sessions, where hopefully all participants will have the opportunity to voice their issues, challenges, and suggestions for the future in smaller gatherings.

1 comment:

  1. A panelist at the Violence and Discrimination Against Girls in Schools session today discussed interventions to address gender inequality in schools and explained that they found they needed to include boys to see real results. As she put it, "girls are not always victims and boys are not always perpetrators." I think it's really important that there are women and men, girls and boys involved in this dialogue. I wonder if the lack of men has more to do with their not feeling that "women's" issues matter to them, or with exclusion by women? Probably some combination of both?