This module is a resource for lecturers
This section contains suggestions for in-class or pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.
Exercise 1: Preparatory viewing and plenary discussion
Select from the following readings and films and set as pre-class reading or viewing for students.
This exercise should consist of 30 minutes discussion, with additional time for preparatory viewing/reading. In a plenary during class, ask students to consider the question: Violence against women has been a global priority since 1993. What does this mean in practice? What are the causes of violence against women?
- United Nations (1993). Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women , GA Resolution 48/104. New York: UN.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, "We should all be feminists", 12 April 2013, Ted Talk (29:30 minutes)
- Laura Bates, "Sexism and solidarity across borders", January 2014, TedxEastEnd (33:47 minutes)
- Interview with Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, 21 October 2017 (18:19 minutes)
Exercise 2: The scope of the problem
Lecturers should circulate copies of the UN Women Factsheet: "Facts and figures: Ending violence against women" .
Ask students to share their initial thoughts in plenary discussion about what the world would look like without violence against women and girls. What could be achieved, how could the texture of daily life be different? What resources would be freed up for other tasks and priorities if this violence was not inflicted on women and girls? This exercise should take 20 minutes.
Exercise 3: Mini lecture and small group discussion
Lecturers might deliver a brief lecture based on the "ecological approach" to what causes violence against women. The following article, on the life-cycle approach to violence against women, can be used as a basis: "What causes violence against women? Ending violence against women requires change at all levels of the socio-political system."
The class should then break into small groups and answer the following questions:
1. List all the forms of gender-based violence:
a) that you were aware of before preparing for this lesson
b) that you encountered for the first time in the preparatory reading.
Do any of these surprise you?
2. What forms of violence against women were identified in the General Assembly Declaration in 1993?
3. What forms of violence have been identified as persisting in the current day, according to the video material?
4. According to the video materials and the article by Lara Fergus, what are the issues which contribute to the persistence of violence against women?
5. Reflect again in small groups the question that was posed in the plenary discussion: what would life be like if violence against women and girls was not a global problem affecting one in three women and girls?
Feed back to the class in plenary. This exercise should take 30 minutes.
Exercise 4: A New World Card Game
A NEW WORLD CARD GAME (from the UN Women resource "the Change Makers" page 16 and 17).
This resource expresses perfectly the importance of key ideas in human rights (to physical and mental integrity; to be respected irrespective of identity; to have decision-making autonomy; to have sexual autonomy) and what it means to have those rights impeded or violated by others because of discrimination, and how power over others can be abused. This activity should take 45 minutes.
Exercise 5: "Violence against women: it's a men's issue"
Teaching time in class should be used for the students to watch the TedTalk by Jackson Katz from 2013, "Violence against women: it's a men's issue." (2013) with the lecturer in attendance during class time.
This presentation by Jackson Katz and the materials proposed as preparation should be the basis of discussion among students in class. Discussions should take place first in small groups, so that views can be aired more confidently on a small scale, before feeding back to the plenary of the class as a whole.
Questions to stimulate discussion:
- How are men disadvantaged because of gender expectations? The main issues are: norms about use of violence being something appropriate for men to deal with problems or conflicts; being expected to be stoic about physical and emotional pain and difficulty, which leads to mental and physical ill-health, and increased risk of suicide.
- Why do we need to challenge the "what about the men?" question? This question assumes that taking action to address gender inequality - discrimination against women and girls - is not acceptable.
- Do any students agree with the Men's Rights Movement approach? If so, teachers may find it useful to challenge them on the factual basis to claims by the Men's Rights Movement - where do they get their information from?
- How can men and boys be allies to women and girls in addressing gender-based discrimination and violence?
Exercise 6: Discussion on the content of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence
For this session, students should read the "General Leaflet on the Istanbul Convention" published by the Council of Europe which is available in more than twenty languages.
On the basis of the leaflet on the Istanbul Convention, students should discuss the following questions:
- Which initiatives are the most important for addressing violence against women and girls?
- Which are the most interesting and creative?
- What might effective action look like in your context?
- Who is responsible for putting these actions into practice?
- How might the effectiveness of the actions be measured or assessed?
- What requirements are most important for women and girls who have been subjected to violence, to address their immediate needs?
- What requirements are most important to secure long-term change?
- Is your country a party to the Istanbul Convention, or any of the other regional treaties on women's human rights? If not, why not? If your State has ratified one of these conventions, has it made a difference?
Exercise 7: Circles of Influence
This is based on the UN Women resource "the Change Makers" pages 34-39.
This exercise would fit well after the discussion about multiple obligations on States to take action according to the international and regional treaties on gender equality and violence against women (legislative change, policing, access to medical care, transforming social stereotypes). This game also encourages students to consider how individual decisions on how individuals address gender inequality in their personal and professional lives take place on a daily basis, and that everyone can make a stand against gender discrimination and violence.
Exercise 8: What am I going to do differently as a result of this class?
Students and the teacher/facilitators should think through what they will do differently in their own lives - via social media, in their personal interactions, campaigning, donating etc.
This exercise needs careful consideration - should it be a private commitment, or a public one? Lecturers could invite students to decide whether they would like to share their commitments with the group, or whether they would like these to be kept confidential. Under no circumstances should students feel obliged to share their commitment, or any other personal information, with the larger group. This should be an individual choice. If the commitment is kept confidential to the individual student, he or she should be encouraged to make a note of it somewhere and reflect on their progress after a period of time.
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