What are gender transformative approaches, and what are ILC members learning from them?
The fourth and last Gender Justice Lab of 2023 built on the learning exchanges held at global and regional level on Gender Transformative Approaches (GTAs). In October 2022 ILC members from LAC, Africa, Asia and EMENA gathered in Arusha (Tanzania), hosted by the National Land Coalition (NLC) Tanzania, to learn and exchange about Gender Transformative Approaches to Secure Women Land Rights in a workshop organised by ILC and IFPRI/CIFOR/Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.. They continued working on GTAs at regional level and plan to keep enforcing them in the future. This learning lab showcased three experiences from ILC members and illustrated the next steps to promote Gender Justice in the land sector.
WHAT WE LEARNED
- What Gender Transformative Approaches to Secure Women Land Rights are.
- How these approaches are proven effective in different contexts.
- What’s next in promoting Gender Transformative Approaches and Gender Justice in the land sector.
WE LEARNED WITH
- Kimberly Alvarez - ARNow The Philippines
- Julieth Ospino Prens - Red de Mujeres Rurales del Norte de Bolívar Colombia
- Lois Aduamoah-Addo - WILDAF Ghana
The Lab will be moderated by Elisabetta Cangelosi, Gender Justice Advisor at ILC.
Understanding structural gender barriers in the Philippines
Kim guided the audience through the main elements of the Arusha learning exchange, which highlighted the concept of gender transformative approaches as a way to respond to power dynamics and structural inequalities at multiple levels and in different contexts. In fact, they contribute to identify (and challenge) multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. During the learning exchange significant attention was paid to the importance of explicit implication of men and boys as allies.
One of the main outcomes of the exchange was a stronger understanding (and challenging) of structural gender barriers, and the relevance of involvement of women in decision making. When applying GTAs to the land sector, it is crucial to address the complete bundle of rights.
AR Now, consistently with its constituency and mission, responded to the learning with an interest to assess their own internal structure: they engaged in the ILC Gender Audit, building upon the previous gender audit experience of the NLC in the Philippines. Thanks to this process, AR Now realised that they are doing GTAs, but not automatically labelling them as such. Furthermore, they identified areas where there is room for improvement and higher involvement of women.
As a network AR Now also aims at documenting and disseminating information across its partners and members, building upon the experience of women’s farmers that are part of the network. This also implies a regional involvement to mainstream gender and promote GTAs at different levels.
Challenging norms and practices in Ghana
Lois, shared a very similar experience: the Arusha exchange increased knowledge on the issue of gender and land and contributed to identifying tools that can be used to challenge barriers and norms affecting women’s land rights.
GTAs are particularly useful in identifying norms to be challenged to promote women’s land rights, which is on of the mission of WILDAF. The workshop also helped understand how to do so. In Ghana, for example, land is managed by traditional leaders: it is crucial to find a way to engage them in promoting women’s land rights. The workshop contributed somehow to shift the way WILDAF works with women and communities.
Awareness and alliances with men in Colombia
Julieth underlined how her participation was in representation of the whole women’s organisation in Colombia, all impressed by the similarities of women’s struggles. While they normally use call them gender approaches rather than gender transformative approaches, they do focus on ‘’transformation of the territories and dynamics’’ - exactly as the activities women presented in Arusha.
Three main elements have been identified: the importance of women’s rights for the entire community; the relevance of social norms; the strategic work with men. Despite in all communities women are often isolated and deprived from rights, there is a momentum for change and women’s engagement: many women used to ignore the concept of social norms, but now they are aware.
At the convergence of awareness and men’s engagement stands one activity that women in Colombia promoted thanks to the Stand For Her Land (S4HL) Campaign: creating audio series focusing on women stories, including on care work and women’s roles in the community. This contributed to challenge and change men’s (conscious or unconscious) machist approach and to build alliances with men .
Alliances with men, either traditional leaders or community members, emerged as key element across the interventions and in fact most of the discussion after the speeches focused on how to involve men in promoting gender transformative approaches. Social impact, self-awareness and knowledge emerge as key tools, both for women and for men.