A Flash Mob, Short Video and a Hot Topic
That hot topic being Gender Inequalities. Before I move onto the mob here is some background on why it is an important issue. It is now being recognised more that without equality; sustainability, long-term stability and achieving a “better tomorrow” will not be possible. Let alone equality amongst people of other races, orientation and ability. The implications of gender equality on health, education, the economy and just about everything are almost inconceivable. Lawrence Summers in 1992 (these things take time) acting as Chief Economist at the World Bank said “Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest return investment available in the developing world.” Central in poverty reduction strategy is empowerment and women are often most disempowered. The maths is simple enough, if half the population are not educated or working then you’re going to have a lot less output and more dependant people. China is a shining example with women being a major contributor to its rapid economic expansion. Women also invest a lot more in children then men (a sad truth) and men control disproportionate amounts of wealth globally. In Brazil for example money in the hands of mothers has 4x the impact on children’s height-for-age then when in the father’s hands.(1) All in all, it leads to many of the issues we are trying to improve, health, education, human rights.... it is a “cause of causes”.
At the conference just gone I had the privilege of being part of the Gender Inequalities pre-conference workshop crew – a group of around 25 enthusiastic individuals. Together we created a video and orchestrate a flash mob (video footage coming soon). It was an exhilarating experience, working under the stress of the conference and against a short time limit with hopes of creating an impact. Everyone’s contributions made for a flash mob and video that was beyond all our expectations, and they were high!
We flash mobbed a plenary session, the room is arranged into a large square with people sitting on the outside. These sessions have about 500 people in attendance, representing 100 countries so our reach was large. We started with 20 “pregnant” ladies from the workshop group but as others saw them amassing they joined in stripping the bed sheets off and grabbing a towel (the fetus) to get into character. We gave the organisers the cue and the lights went off, the room fell silent in anticipation of something and the aforementioned video starts to play, the music echoing throughout the grand hall. As this happened 50+ “pregnant” ladies slowly walked into the room, their faces solemn. Slowly around the square they advanced toward the centre. As they did this the fact “Some women are more likely to die giving birth then go to school" appears on the screen and they too, start to “die”. One by one in front of everyone, the ladies drop onto the floor. It was chilling. It was simple. It was effective.
I want to say thank you to Anna and Johanne for organising the workshop. It has inspired many to go back to their countries and teach people about this critical issue. This inspires hope but the workshop also highlighted 2 important issues. A lack of male engagement, 3 attending the workshop and a lack of representation from countries with lower levels of gender equality. These need to be tackled to achieve Gender Equality, men on side and the voices of those affected most heard. Lets follow on from the conference, address the issues and gain more momentum. Stand up for Women, Stand up for Human Rights and whilst I’m here to plug Sexpression, advocate for Relationship and Sex educations, why not?