Mukti organized an induction meeting for “Sahosini” members on the 19th and 20th of April 2023 at the Raidighi Mukti office. It was a capacity-building workshop on women’s rights, gender discrimination and violence. “Sahosini” project is a Kolkata Foundation initiative, developed in collaboration with Mukti and being implemented under the joint guidance of Mukti and Kolkata Foundation. The training partner for the project is “Swayam”. 30 members of the Sahosini group, along with four VOICE members participated in their first training session. The training was conducted from 11 am to 4 pm on both days.
The training was organized under the supervision of the trainers Ms. Triporna and Ms. Swati Sanyal. On behalf of Mukti, two field coordinators, Ms. Siba Mondal, Ms. Debjani Halder and the program manager of Mukti’s Rights and Special Needs wing, Ms. Nandita Jayraman, attended the training program.
Since Sahosini members must be physically present in the field and work by organizing monthly meetings, they were introduced to some tools on the first day of training. They were instructed to create an album of general statements (normal gender norms prevailing in society) with which they would start a conversation and then show a picture that would demonstrate the reverse reality of that statement. In this way, through light discussion, gradually people should be taught to think about the concept of gender, how gender works in the minds of people and society, etc.
The second tool that was taught was identifying household activities and defining what the value (in terms of money) of the activities could be. For example, if we count the monthly salary of a housewife for her daily manual labor for the family, the salary should be 20-25 thousand. But this labor is neglected by the family and society. This typical mindset gives birth to domestic violence. Sometimes women consider themselves insignificant as housewives. By introducing this tool, an attempt is made to create a brainstorming cue for women to come out of this concept.
After the introduction of the tools, a discussion was conducted on the challenges that Sahosini members are facing while working – husbands are walking into some meetings, facing some questions that they may not be able to answer immediately, not understanding how to start the meeting (at what point to enter into the gender concept) etc. There was an open discussion about how they will overcome these challenges.
On the second day, the process of gendering or the process of socialization according to the dominant gender norms was discussed. The gendering process or socialization is maintained by four different processes – family, education, peer groups, and mass media. These processes and their related layers and their workings were explained. To understand this process, they were given an exercise where they were asked to list out where they saw gender discrimination from morning to evening. And secondly, they were asked to mention a personal incident where they themselves had been discriminated against and which had deeply affected them. How this process is affecting society generation after generation and how external factors influence the gendering process was explained in detail.