The Saath Saath curriculum
The kit includes a Manual for Teachers containing a set of 12 session plans with material for children, a Video Compact Disk containing supplementary visual material and a file of all the children’s materials to facilitate photocopying.
The Archdiocesan Board Of Education (ABE), Mumbai, has taken the responsibility to support the dissemination and use of the kits. As part of this process workshops have also been conducted for 145 teachers of 98 ABE schools.
- Session one looks at the difference between sex (as a biological aspect of our bodies) and gender (as a social construct based on biological differences).
- Session two mainly deals with adolescence. It looks at how our bodies change as we grow and how, because girls and boys develop differently, they are treated in significantly different ways. They are expected to fit into specific gender roles and conform to certain modes of behaviour. The session asks if such treatment is fair.
- Session three focuses on the notions individuals have about Gender and the fact that they are so deeply ingrained that we seldom question them. Such notions are passed down from generation to generation and are believed to be part of our culture. Even exposure to modern ideas or the different practices that prevail in less unequal societies do not affect these notions. It is therefore important to decode them, to see how this pressure to conform is unfair to both men and women and has adversely affected the development of society.
- Session four looks at how the process of gendering starts from childhood – it begins by critically examining fairy tales and other stories that we have grown up listening to – do these stories indulge in gender stereotyping and do they teach children about the gender roles that they are expected to fit into?
- Session five talks about family – the cradle of socialization for most individuals. It looks at how we begin learning gender roles at home – the importance given to the work that women and men are expected to do and their relative status within the family. Since these are attitudes that we learn at a very young age and from people we love, it is hard to acknowledge that they are discriminatory; hence such attitudes persist over generations. In fact, ‘family is the school of patriarchy’.
- The sixth session looks at the pressures that young people face when growing up and how peer groups influence our notions of gender and gender roles. Interactions on the Internet, pornography, body image, and sexual curiosity are also themes that are looked at. This session uses stories and incidents to talk about the various situations that young people might find themselves in, the possible ways to deal with these situations, and how we can be more aware of the gender stereotypes that the peer group may perpetuate.
- The influence of mass media on our lives today is undeniable hence it is imperative to scrutinize the impression that it can make on young minds. The representation of gender and gender roles, ideals of what constitute masculinity and femininity, Advertising and its commodification of women, are some of the aspects looked at in the presentations made in session seven.
- Session eight discusses the work that women do. Often given less importance and recognition, unpaid or under-paid, with fewer educational and vocational opportunities, women constitute half the world’s population but receive only one-tenth of the total income. Students are nudged to reflect on their own notions and, through a worksheet, talk to their sisters, mothers, and grandmothers to see how much the role of women has changed over the generations and what this change means.
- The ninth session focuses on what sexual violence means, how it can impact children and how they can deal with it. These days several terms are being used interchangeably such as sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, rape, etc. and this can confuse and scare young people. This session talks about instances of unacceptable behaviour/harassment that students may experience. They may also be committing inappropriate acts that they are not aware of themselves - like bullying or teasing. Care has been taken to make sure that students understand that both boys and girls can be victims of sexual harassment.
- Session ten deals with more extreme forms of sexual violence. Although this is a sensitive topic,
it is imperative for students to understand that rape (and other forms of sexual violence) is an act of expressing power and
subjugation as women are often seen as property. It is important to stress on the fact that rape is never the fault of the
Session ten also looks at the laws relating to rape in India as well as the social reforms that have helped to change the position of women and mitigate the violence against them.
- Session eleven focuses on what it means to be an empowered person. It is only when we learn to accept differences and believe in the rights of all, that we can have a fair and just society. Any form of violence upsets the fabric of society but we are also capable of curbing violence and ending discrimination. This session looks at how empowerment contributes positively to society and what the qualities of an empowered person are.
- Session twelve, the last one of this Kit, recaps and ties up what has been learnt in the previous sessions. While positive change has occurred and there is far more gender fairness and equality than there was two generations ago, there is still a way to go. Further change is possible only if individuals, and particularly young people, question and address continued discriminations. Equality and fairness cannot be taken for granted and constant efforts have to be made so that we can obtain a gender blind and truly empowered society.
SELLING AND PROCUREMENTS OF THE SAATH SAATH KITS
The Saath Saath kit is available for use by individuals / schools / organizations working with children between the ages of 8 to 14 years. Please contact us for further details.
AVEHI ABACUS PROJECT
Third Floor, K.K. Marg Municipal School,
Saat Rasta, Mahalaxmi,
Mumbai 400 011