Movies on gender equality – revealing and discussing stereotypes on women’s rights
May 16, 2022

Movies on gender equality – revealing and discussing stereotypes on women’s rights

Women are historically under-recognised, considering that gender roles have had a negative impact on their place in society. It is essential to understand that women should have access, and subsequently capitalise on their rights and opportunities, especially within civic society, and how they can become equal partners within their families. Gender equality is a common value of the European Union that is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. To recognise women’s varied, and often under-recognised, accomplishments throughout history, March is officially recognised as Women’s month.

The observance of International Women’s Day (IWD) (8 March) was a result of the actions of women in the early 20th Century. Between 1909 and 1911, working women in the United States of America started strikes protesting low wages, lack of protective legislation, and poor working conditions. The protests sprang out of the catastrophic March 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which took the lives of 140 working girls, predominantly Italian and Jewish immigrants. In Europe, Clara Zetkin and the Socialist Women’s International urged that 8 March be designated as International Women’s Day, a day set aside each year to honour working women worldwide.  

The 2022 Women’s Month Celebration aimed to showcase achievements for women and girls, analyse gender equality activities, and anticipate steps that must be undertaken to guarantee development in women’s empowerment. Every year, Young European Ambassadors implement various projects in Georgia and in other EaP countries around Women’s month.

One of the events held in celebration of Women’s month this year was the short film festival in Kvareli Euroclub on 22 March by the French embassy in Georgia. We had the pleasure to attend the event, so we decided to tell you a little about it. The festival had been planned at the beginning of the month, but, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was postponed. After a fun bus ride, we arrived at the cozy environment of Kvareli Euroclub. This place was founded in 2019 by Young European Ambassador Nika Gurini. Since then, it has developed into an oasis of European values.

Upon arrival, we immediately moved into the auditorium where the speakers were waiting for the event to begin. There was a representative of the French embassy in Georgia, as well as the director and representative of the International Republican Institute Georgia. Also, there were visitors from all over Kvareli municipality, around 50 people in total. In the first part of the event, three speakers had a panel discussion and told us about the importance of gender equality, women’s rights, and an egalitarian society. There was a little discourse about Georgian history in this regard.

Afterwards, we began to watch films. Despite all of them being connected to gender equality issues, the films were diverse in themes and genres. Some of them were comic, some of them were documentary, some were symbolic and others were blunt in their message delivery. For the entire session, people were quietly gazing at the screen. Among other important subjects, the films touched upon sensitive and scarcely discussed topics such as identity and reproductive rights.

Next, we moved to what we consider to be the most important part of the event – discussion. Even though it was a film festival, we think that importance comes not from the movies themselves but the impact they have on the audience and a great way to see that is through discussion. The audience expressed their views about the films, and later women shared their own experiences about gender issues and their ways of dealing with unfriendly behaviour. There was one interesting nuance that once again revealed the deep-rooted stereotypes of Georgian society. The majority of schoolchildren from the municipality were girls. It goes back to the prejudice that gender issues and women’s rights are only women’s concerns and not societal problems. This fact was brought up during the conversation and was used as an example to signify the importance of awareness about gender issues. We have to emphasise that, initially, the schoolgirls avoided expressing their opinion. It took them a while to open up, probably because of the reality that they are not accustomed to talk about such topics in public. Sometimes they prefer to keep quiet rather than share their everyday challenges to others.

Obviously, the event could not be considered complete without expressing solidarity to the Ukrainian people. After the discussion, attendees moved to the centre of Kvareli with a giant Ukrainian flag and colourful smokes, and through a little performance, they expressed the support of the Georgian people to Ukraine.

The event, from the beginning to the end, was an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience.

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