Here are a few tips for advocates of human rights, social justice and equality, on how best to engage a group of women and girls in your community, about issues that affect them directly.
- Treat each one equally with dignity and respect.
- Recognize that each one has a right to express her opinion and point of view and you have a responsibility to listen intently and respect their views.
- Play games, sing some songs or do some exercises as a way to arouse interest and get everybody energized and comfortable.
- Create an atmosphere that is enriching by recognizing the unique differences of the individuals you are engaging and making each feel valued.
- Ensure that tolerance, inclusion and respect impacts how the women and girls talk to one another, share ideas and relate in a group session.
- Take into consideration, what language your audience is most comfortable to engage with. This is an important part of inclusion, if you cannot engage in the language, find someone within the group who can translate.
- Maximize participation and interaction by asking each individual to share something fun about themselves and encourage others to listen attentively. Ask questions such as what is your name? where do you come from? who is your favorite musician?
- Encourage questions and contributions to help your audience gain a sense of confidence in the issues they think are important to discuss.
- Do not criticize or dismiss the ideas of others
- Do not talk while someone is still talking or thinking of how to say what they want to say simply because you are in charge of the event or discussion
- Encourage brainstorming sessions as a way to make everyone in the group participate in generating ideas and solutions to existing problems.
Remember that positive impact and transformation among women and girls, cannot be achieved without critical thinking and participation. Empowering them means taking into account how in many societies, they are often marginalized and alienated from having conversations about issues that directly affect them. This means that you have a responsibility to help create a safe environment for them to tell their stories, find a new sense of confidence and feel that their voice, ideas, opinions, perceptions and views matter and must be heard.