September 27, 2022
Debunking myths through science and feminist theory to prevent and eradicate gender-based violence from the university environment
On November 22, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, the conference "Debunking Myths through Science and Feminist Theory to Prevent and Eradicate Gender-based Violence from the University Environment" was held.The event took place at the Auditorium of the School of Psychology, Education and Sport Science.
The conference, which was also available on stream, was organized by the Couples and Family Research Group (GRPF) of Ramon Llull University and was subsidized by the State Pact against Gender Violence.
The aim was to address the problem by analyzing the causes of this violence, which often originate from preconceived beliefs and ideas about the nature of women and men. The event went on all morning and was split into two round tables.
"Scientific and critical feminist contributions to the fight against gender-based violence"
The first round table, moderated by Dr. Berta Aznar, had as its first speaker Dr. Mara Dierssen, neurobiologist, researcher and university professor, who scientifically debunked all the fallacies between men and women that still exist in society. Using commercials and social experiences, she illustrated how society shapes stereotypes in children during their early years and which will continue to endure through the years. "Society feeds the stereotypes of men and women, they are part of our daily lives and that has many consequences when it comes to deciding, for example, what degree to study or what job to do in the future." Women regularly face obstacles to career advancement.
The presentation by Dr. Silvia Carrasco, professor of social anthropology, addressed sex and gender and analyzed why it is important to differentiate between them in order to understand feminist theory. From her first-hand experience, Dr. Carrasco explained that she still has to keep working to not accept any kind of violence inside or outside the university. "Indifference cannot justify inequality, or violence", she argued.Many cultures construct gender from a patriarchal point of view. Men are not violent by nature, which is why educating against political violence, language violence and all types of violence is so crucial. A great effort must be made, a cultural effort, she said.
Dr. Pilar Aguilar, writer and movie critic, continued the talk with a great sense of humor, focusing on audio-visual storytelling and the role of women in cinema. There is a schism between what is rationally stipulated and what is actually admitted, between thought values and felt values. There are almost no movies about women's struggle and history, and they deserve these stories; there is a lot of material, there are many untold stories. "We are what we do to change who we are", and she closed by recommending movies she finds very interesting, such as the recent movies by the Catalan director Carla Simón.
The last speaker of the first round table was Dr. Inma Pastor, professor of Sociology at Rovira i Virgili University, who gave the audience an insight into violence against women in higher education. She explained how it is perceived and explained by students at the university. She affirmed that it is essential to continue collecting data, which is why a survey was carried out on the subject "Is there sexism at university?". The survey was answered by over 10,000 students from different Catalan universities. The conclusions point to the fact that the vast majority of universities easily recognize what violence is and they have an unsexist view of traditional roles, but there are also important aspects that indicate that education must continue along these lines.
The second round table, moderated by Dr. Josep Castillo, provided an in-depth look at three research projects that address issues relating to gender inequality and gender-based violence.
Dr. Rosa Rifà presented the project Sexual Violence in the Clinical Practice Environment of Students at the Blanquerna School of Health Sciences, in which 126 internship students took part. 11% of the students who responded claimed to have been subjected to aggression in the work placement environment, and by far the students that had experienced it the most were female nursing students.
Ms. Valentina Laferrara explained the project Women in the Raval: the Technical Training Needs of a Neighborhood in a Pandemic, which aims to highlight the level of access and types of use of technology by women in the Raval neighborhood in vulnerable situations. They obtained data from surveys and in-depth interviews and concluded that there is a digital divide, and that digital training is needed for women in this neighborhood.
Finally, Dr. Berta Vall presented the project "Assessment of the training needs to identify and intervene in gender violence in the social context", which aims to help school professionals to recognize and help children and young people exposed to gender violence, providing them with support and guidance. Surveys and questionnaires showed that more than half of the teachers are not aware of the tools and protocols for identifying violence.
It was a pleasure to listen to the speakers' messages and the learnings they had to offer. It was a very interesting event, because it explored in-depth the aspects that must be taken into account every day to eradicate gender-based violence from the university environment, as well as from other areas, and because it underscored the importance of training to bring an end to harassment.