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Gender equality

Equal in dignity and rights?

 

Summary

This installation focuses on the term "empowerment". What is empowerment? How is it achieved? What best practice examples show us effective ways of reaching this goal? And what does empowerment mean to me, as a woman, as a man, as an inhabitant of the northern hemisphere.

The installation is located right next to a Moroccan nomad tent. It links to the environment of this North African exhibit by combining the concepts of the typical low table used by the nomads and of the so-called Arab Spring. More importantly, the content is also connected: in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia access to education is particularly unequal for girls, whilst women also enjoy fewer paid opportunities in the labour market compared to other parts of the world. Additionally, German visitors tend to label Middle Eastern women in a stereotypical and timeless way as "other", contrasting with "modern" and "liberated" Europe. In this case, it is helpful to reflect on past and present debates: in Germany, rape within marriage has only been illegal since 1997, whilst quotas for female representation on boards of directors of joint stock companies is still a controversial topic.

Education, political representation and economic empowerment were targets formulated to achieve Millennium Development Goal 3 ("Promote gender equality and empower women"). The installation sheds light on the achievements so far. Do girls and women still face the old restrictions or do they encounter new obstacles in different parts of the world? Do we need to formulate new goals for a new decade?

Details

The installation comprises of:

  • A banner displaying the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.") contrasted with some basic facts on gender inequality
  • A low table, surrounded by four stools
  • A "deck of cards" to introduce data on women's history in Germany contrasted to women elsewhere (via a game). Books on women in the Arab world and in Africa, which visitors are invited to sit down and read
  • Four placards or banners reminiscent of those carried at political demonstrations, each picking out one gender topic, as follows:
    1. achievements in the fields of education, the economy and political participation
    2. what does empowerment mean (with a little (fake) poll on visitors' ideas of empowerment and gender equality)
    3. the prevalence of violence against women -> introducing to two short films, one on the movement against §475 in Morocco and the other on violence against women in Germany
    4. the fight of Manal al-Sharif for the right of women to drive cars
  • The installation gives information on the targets and achievements under MDG 3. It gives best practice examples of action towards the empowerment of girls and women, and introduces women and girls who have led by example and thereby made a difference and effected change in the life of their communities. The installation induces self-reflection by presenting, in a playful manner, an overview of women's history in Germany (focusing on the city of Nuremberg as far as possible).
Überblick_gender

Overview of the installation on gender equality

Table_Gender

On the low table, the visitor finds a "deck of cards" as well as specific books on the topic

Plakat_Gender

One of the four banners discusses the fight of Manal al-Sharif for the right of women to drive cars

Surrounding Area_Gender

The installation is located right next to a Moroccan nomad tent

    Budget + resources

    Budget needed:

    Overall design and layout

    420 €

    Printing of the banner

    207 €

    4 A2-size exhibition boards

    107 €

    5 Card games (laminated cards 75 x 100mm, 37 cards per deck)

    246 €

    print data preperation, lump sum

    107 €

    Table and 4 stools

    400 €

    Books on women in the Arab world

    25 €

    Tablet and set-up

    300 €

    Other small items to fix boards, banners etc.

    40 €

    Total

    1852 €

    How to do it step by step

    1st Step:

    Initial orientation

    Visit the museum you will be working with and get an overview of the exhibition.

    2nd Step:

    Content selection

    Conjointly choose the object and topic you want to work with. The form taken by each installation will depend very much on the specific museum you choose and its objects. Types of objects that you might connect to this development topic include objects typically (and stereotypically) connected to women's lives (e.g. traditional women's clothes or professions, the household, female artists, or famous women from the region).
    Try to create a comprehensible and clear connection to the existing objects.
    → Try to stick as closely as possible to the thematic focus of the object you want to work with. Make connections to the region, the actors involved and the style of storytelling used in the object.

    Choose an aspect of the topic that is both complex enough and well defined enough. Do you want to offer an overview of MDG 3? Or do you want to focus on a specific aspect like female

    genital mutilation?
    → As gender is a huge and complex topic in which you can easily get lost, we recommend concentrating on one or two aspects. In our installation for example, we gave an overview by presenting some global facts, but then also presented a case study on the right of women drive.

    Develop interesting methods that can be used to implement your idea. Check how much space will be available at the museum, what technical facilities the museum can offer, which target group you want to address and how much money you have available to invest.
    → Think small, start small. During implementation, new ideas will  arise, so be prepared to save some money to invest later on! In our case, we added some interesting books on women's rights for visitors to read.

    3rd Step:

    Work plan

    Develop a first draft of your idea, combining your ideas with those of your partners. This draft should already include a budget plan so that you can assess the feasibility of your idea. It should also include an implementation schedule. Produce a draft that everyone agrees with and send it to all your partners.
    → Include every single step in the production process, so that you factor in the small details. For example it may seem convenient to list only "production of cards", but you may also need to pay for a proofreader, a designer, copyright permissions, laminated paper and so on.

    4th Step:

    Subcontractors

    Ask for quotes for every step of production. Try to get several quotes for each step so that you can choose the best offer. Add up the quotes, compare the total with your budget plan and adjust it, if necessary. In our case, we funded the installation from our own resources ( the museum society). So we chose the printer that we usually work with.

    5th Step:

    Content creation

    Create and write down the content for the information panels. This is very time-consuming because researching details takes time. Ask your partners to proofread this first version so that you can clarify any misunderstandings at an early stage. Try to keep the text brief by limiting it to the key information only.

    6th Step:

    Graphic material and additional objects

    Choose pictures, graphics and videos that reinforce the content. Ask the copyright owners if you can use their material for educational purposes. In some cases you might have to pay to use this material. UN Women, Unicef, WHO and other sources are helpful and generally grant permission to use and translate their material.
    → In most cases, you will be asked to submit forms via the Internet to obtain permission to reprint or use the material of international organizations. You can obtain permission faster if you directly call the person in charge. You can often find her/him on the organization's homepage. The same holds true for NGOs.
    → For the little "poll" that visitors can do via the QR code on their mobile device, we used the program "Survey Monkey". There are several options for the types of questions you might ask. Test them on your colleagues and friends. Are the questions easy and straightforward? Do they generate results that you can use?

    7th Step:

    Modelling test versions

    Try out different tables and stools. Testing the big information boards in the size of your banner, you can use a beamer to magnify your graphic onto the wall in the wished size.  A2-size boards can easily be reproduced through photocopying. So, you can see whether their size fits into the

    overall arrangement.
    → Print out your banners and boards ensuring the colours are as authentic as possible.

     8th Step:

    The game

    Collect data for the card game. We chose 37 events from women's and gender history that were/are important locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. There is an event on the (white) front and a date on the (red) reverse. The challenge is to put the cards into chronological order without looking at the reverse. Write down the rules of the game and test the game on colleagues and friends. Are the rules clear?
    → Try to include stories and events from your town or region as well.
    → Produce more than one deck of cards, since visitors will take some away as "souvenirs", while others might get lost in some other way. Although the game is designed in such a way that the odd missing card will not ruin the game, eventually you will have to replace the deck.

    9th Step:

    Producing the table

    Talk to your carpenter about your ideas and start this process as soon as possible. Once again, you can choose between working with a local company or other types of partner. The Natural History Museum of Nuremberg often cooperates with public and municipal institutions like the municipal job creation company, which results in reduced costs . However, on the down side, you cannot schedule completion for a fixed date, which might lead to delays.
    Check the carpentry work on arrival. It sometimes gets damaged in transit (as in our case).

    10th Step:

    Final checks

    Finalize the banner and boards with the designer. Get a printout on paper to see the true colours.

    Correction loops: Several correction cycles will make the final product look more professional. Ask the designer for two or three checks. Pay a professional to do the proofreading if you included this in your budget plan.
    → Identify the representatives from the museum that need to give their blessing to the final product. Try to keep the circle small to save time, while ensuring the correction process is transparent to all actors involved.

    11th Step:

    Installing the object in the museum

    Finalize everything. Once you give the "go-ahead", the designer will send the final design to a print shop. Consider how you will fix the banner (on the ceiling? on the wall?). You might need some extra materials for this. To fix the board we used discarded hat stands.

    Evaluation

    Ups & Downs

    Ups

    • The installation is easily adjustable to the space available.
    • It is easy to update, since the single placards are not expensive to produce.
    • The card game encouraged people to talk or to share memories. Elderly people often remember the facts mentioned.
    • Visitors like to sit down, so the installation encourages people to take their time over the game.

    Downs

    • The "poll" as well as the films are available via QR-code. However, few people have the app required to scan the code or else they do not want to watch films on their private phones. We originally wanted to hand tablets to visitors, but there were legal and technical issues over providing free WLAN access.
    • Due to the above-mentioned problems, the poll designed as a way of counting visitors, did not fulfil its purpose.

    Lessons learned

    • The topic was too broad, but we still did not touch on all aspects of it. Less might be more. In order to give additional information we used QR-codes, but few people use them (see “ups and downs” above).

    Feedback from visitors

    • Several visitors praised the installation for its interactivity and playful approach to the topic.

     

    Internet links + other sources

    UN Women: In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Look for the relevant national page of this organisation via this link:

    www.unwomen.org

    WHO: Fact sheet on female genital mutilation by the World Health Organisation:

    www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

    WHO: Report on the prevalence of violence against women, 2013:

    www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/violence/9789241564625/en

    UN: Reports on Millennium Development Goals for download:

    www.un.org/millenniumgoals/news.shtml

    "475 - When marriage becomes punishment": Movie by the young director Nadir Bouhmouch on the fight against §475 in Morocco. Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal Code allows a man who rapes a minor to go free if the victim marries the assailant. This documentary explores the reasons why Moroccan society has failed to protect young women from rape and abuse. The law was abolished in 2014:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VLEQvzpa8U

    Manal al Sharif: The woman activist explains her activities in support of women's rights in Saudi Arabia in a TED talk:

    www.ted.com/talks/manal_al_sharif_a_saudi_woman_who_dared_to_drive

     This website has been produced with the assistance of the European Union.
    The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the Museo Mundial project partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

     EU