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Towards an ungendered leadership

Intermediate Report - July 2019


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Introduction


About six months into the project, we continue to see a lot of energy building up around the project, both from within euforia, from our volunt’heroes and from partner organisations involved directly in the implementation. We’ve also experienced the learning curve, as Gender Equality is a topic we specifically address for the first time and producing a podcast is also new to us. Please find below more details 

First of all, and in spite of the learning curve, we are very happy as to how the project is playing out so far. The key results indicators speak for themselves and we truly believe we are making a difference by addressing the Gender Equality challenge with a different and innovative approach : by addressing regular people in an unconventional way, we empower them to embrace their wholeness, their vulnerability and turn it into courage and determination to address sensitive issues and bring about change into the world. This is reflected throughout all the activites deployed from the Power has no Gender project.

For this, we are leveraging some of the proven strengths of euforia methodology, i.e: 

  • building a space of trust, support and solidarity where individuals feel empowered and free to speak their minds even about sensitive topics

  • participants from very diverse backgrounds and courses of life

  • participatory approach embracing different levels of learning: physical, emotional, mental & spiritual.

Plenty of learnings have be garnered already and we integrate them as we go to make sure our actions are adapted to our objectives and our target audience. We always strive to keep in mind the long term, i.e how this project might serve as a prototype to a consolidated, more widespread program on Gender Equality.

Projet content


Please find below the premisces of the Power has no Gender project :

Our intention for this project

Activate and nurture a community of people (both offline and online) breaking free from gender roles, accepting themselves, embracing the way they are, to feel confident and empowered to conquer the world to have a social and/or environmental impact

Objectives

  1. People are inspired by women-changemakers’ life stories and men questioning today’s dominant masculinity model.

    Measurement criteria : min. of 200-500 listeners of the podcasts. As it is a new media for us, and since the podcast landscape is very competitive, we prefer to be cautious with our forecasts. However given the strength of our network, and the multiplier effect of collaborating with other organisations, we are confident that we can do even better

  2. people reflect on what their leadership styles are free from gender etiquettes and work on it to become badass changemakers.

    Measurement criteria : 50-80 participants to the events and trainings

  3. people feel empowered to take a new step in their career or personal life. 

    Measurement criteria : 3-5 projects launched by participants of the events or trainings

  4. a strong community of individuals, organisations and companies is created, bringing the work and reflections on gender equality beyond the specific events.

    Measurement criteria : an online group gathering participants is active (WhatsApp, Facebook or other channel to be defined amongst participants) after the events, and there are 2-3 collaborations originated by this mean.

  5. euforia use the learnings from the project “Power has no gender” to address gender equality issues in a more active way and become a more inclusive organisation internally and through its partnerships, events and trainings. 

    Measurement criteria : the euforia facilitation handbook includes a new section on how to strive to become free from gender roles for yourself and participants when facilitating, a reflexive workshop on the learning from the project takes place during euforia’s summer 2019 workend (euforia’s staff strategic and reflexive yearly retreat) and euforia nurtures this topic in the partnerships that were initiated during the “Power has no gender” project.

Project activities

here is the detail of the work we have achieved so far:

podcast

Silene our podcast wizard has worked hard to get trained, get the equipment, graphic identity and music ready for the podcast.

The first 4 podcasts have been recorded, our podcast blogpage is ready (see trailer on the right hand side ->) and we are in the syndication phase, i.e to have our podcast approved by streaming platforms (itunes, google play, etc..).

Next steps : 

  • The series will be launched on September 3 and will feature at least 6 episodes, published on a bi-monthly basis. For the sake of outreach, we have decided to reschedule the actual launch of the podcast series to September and publish them on a bi-weekly basis. This is really important to increase the audience. Basically, our conclusions were : better to release the podcast late but create the buzz beforehand and have listeners ready for it, than rushing into the launch and only reach a momentum by the 4 or 5th episode.

  • introduce more variety of profiles amongst our interviewees (so far only women working in the development world) : at least one man, and an interviewee from a different field of activities, more traditional or even conservative.

events & training

8 events have taken place so far, as presented below:

The co-creation Team for the Unleash training, consisting of 2 members of euforia permanent team, 4 volunt’heroes and one external expert, meet regularly and have already come up with a first draft of program for the training (see at this link for the working document). 

Next steps : 

  • We aim to organize a couple more Share & Grow events during and after the Summer, with a special focus on the recruitement of participants to the Unleash training and the collaboration with partner organizations (see below)

  • The Unleash Project training on Gender Equality will take place in the Fall (Oct 12-13 and Nov. 2).

Partnerships and collaborations

First of all, we would like to underline how well the collaboration within the co-creation Team for the Unleash training has worked. Mainly it is the first time that our volunteers are so fully included in the program development of a training (versus being trained to facilitate an existing program).

Collaboratio Helvetica has helped with lots of resources, and Christine Dürschner, one of the co-creators of the Gender Lab in 2018, presented us with the good practices and learnings gathered in their own process (Christine's own perspectives on Gender Lab at this link)

Be You Network has launched their BOWIE series of events based on euforia imp!act methodology (here the link to their website). We are now discussing the opportunity to use the marketplace to support the projects generated by BOWIE (incubator for Gender related projects). Also, one of the founders has joined our team of volunt’heroes to co-create the program and organizing the Unleash training in the Fall.

Staatslabor has confirmed their interest in a co-creation of a workshop format on the topic of street harassment in Zürich. They are waiting to validate the main priorities with the City’s  GleichstellungsBüro before suggesting a potential date. 

A partner Foundation has confirmed the availability of a few thousands CHF to support the launch of Gender related projects through our trainings.

We are still discussing with potential partners (corporate and civil society) to help us multiply our impact but not much success so far. This proves how much the Gender Equality topic is on everybody’s mind (people and organizations) but at the same time how difficult it is to actually address it.

  • One of our past clients, employment platform Jobcloud, will publish an article about the PHNG project on their blog and newsletter sent to about 40'000 HR professionals in Switzerland.

  • a alternative idea to reach the private sector is through the emerging network of coworking spaces. We are discussing this with the national umbrella association Coworking Switzerland and a first event should be held at a local coworking space in the swiss-german part. 

  • Youth workers from the Canton of Geneva, whom we are collaborating with on a project of transformational trainings towards the Youth with inclusion challenges, have expressed the interest to include a module on gender equality.

Results


Key results indicators 

podcast : 4 episodes have been recorded so far with the following interviewees:  

  • Malika Dreyfuss : Project Coordinator at euforia (in French)

  • Aurore Bui : Social Innovation expert and lecturer (in French)

  • Beatrice Fihn, nobel laureate and executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons - ICAN (in English)

  • Aurélie Bresson : Founder and President of “Les Sportives”, first magazine in French entirely dedicated to women’s sport (in French)

During each of these meaningful conversations, interviewees look at their professional career and how they think it was impacted by their gender. It focuses on the interviewees’ personal experiences leading to reflections on gendered behaviors, roles and expectations that may have been adopted or rejected, their styles of leaderships and where they draw their power and inspiration.

Through the Share & Grow events, and including the partners’ events, a total of 200 people have reflected on what the world would look like free of gender etiquettes.

With 8 events so far, our initial objectives have already been exceeded.

Through our collaboration with Be You Network; 17 ideas were born and pitched at the hack-a-thon in Bern and 19 ideas will be incubated to become sustainable projects through the BOWIE 6-months program based on euforia imp!act methodology.

The BOWIE selected projects can be seen at this link.

4 institutional collaborations have been implemented and are shaping the development of the Power has no Gender project.

internal learning process : 2 internal meetings were held already within the main coordination team of the project.

A milestone meeting is planned in the course of September to  consolidate the learnings from all internal stakeholders and plan the harvesting at the main training in the Fall.

Key learnings

Participants at our events really opened up, and did so confidently, which proves that they were comfortable in the group to discuss the topic, even though for a majority it was their first euforia event. This proved once more that our main strength at euforia is to build that space of trust, support and solidarity where individuals feel liberated and free to speak their minds and discuss sensitive topics.

I was impressed by the diversity of participant that euforia gathered in this event. Also the informal environment contributed to addressing complex issues at a deep emotional level.
— Helene Upjohn , Gender expert and guest facilitator to one of our S&G night

Many participants showed interest in following up with the discussions. Including one that has joined the team as a volunteer. 

The diversity of participants mentioned above proves to be a challenge when considering the level of awareness to the topic, as the content of a 2-hour informal event cannot be adapted to participants very aware of the topic.

We need to be clearer as to the target audience we expect at our events. Depending on what stage we are working on, we need to have :

  • For a crowd who is not familiar with the gender topic, Painting and pointing out stereotypical aspects of a leader is a good way to raise awareness and introduce participants to trainings that go deeper into the deconstruction

  • For participants who are already well aware and educated in this topic we need to provide more elaborate content to dive into the deconstruction of stereotypes and the embrace of a leadership free of the Gender binarity.

On top or raising awareness and generating meaninfull conversations around the topic of Gender Equality, the Share & grow events served well their secondary purpose of prototyping content for further transformational events on the Gender topic:

  • the experiential activities (such as drawings or group exercices) worked well to loosen up the atmosphere and bring awareness to the biases in the participants themselves as well as society in general

  • facilitation by an external expert has helped to go deeper and explore the building of stereotypes in our upbringing, namely by using toys and Lego to project participants in their childhood.

Main challenges and Factors for success

The gender equality topic is as widespread as hard to address. Everybody feels concerned but at the same time quite biased themselves (with stereotypes engrained in our culture and education). 

  • participants expressed frustration with the fact that in spite of global awareness on the gender equality gap, so little is really achieved to reduce it. 

  • Some even reported hopelessness, due to resistance or just passiveness by their friends or acquaintances, e.g not being taken seriously on this topic (ungendered language for example seen as unnecessary/bothersome)

This confirms the relevance of our approach, i.e a personal introspection (both at personal and organizational level) to build a solid ungendered leadership before reaching out to empower others.

We intend to maintain the diversity of our participants, as it is one of the “magic ingredients” of our methodology, however we are debating and will strive to figure out before the end of the year whether we have enough resources to pursue the two following strategies or if we need to choose one above the other,  based on the biggest expected impact :

  1. to focus on people who are not yet very familiar/sensitive to the topic of Gender Equality, in which case we need to find the right channels and way to reach them and attract them to our events

  2. to leverage our existing events and trainings to address the topic with participants who are already well aware and educated, which would bring about a less spread but deeper impact.

Early in the project, we realized that we were lacking a real communication strategy to increase visibility and traction around the project so as to raise people’s attention and show how we are addressing a very common topic in a new innovative manner. We have thus taken the two following measures: 

  • we have launched a dedicated webpage on euforia main website (in French, German and English).

  • we have put together a database of references for internal as well as external use (books, articles, videos, spotify playlist, etc..) at this link and publicly available on the PHNG webpage.