A team lead by Dr Katarzyna Borkowska (School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow, UK) has secured research funding from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) under the aegis of its contribution to the University of Glasgow to develop projects associated with Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) research. The project entitled: ‘Gender Equality Starts at Home: Reducing Gender Inequalities in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania’ brings together the following Co-Is:
- Dr Lavinia Hirsu (School of Education, University of Glasgow, UK)
- Dr Amina Kamando (University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania)
- Dr Keneilwe Molosi-France (University of Botswana, Botswana)
- Dr Nancy Njiraini (Strathmore University, Kenya)
All of the international co-Is from the global south are former PhD students from the School of Education at the University of Glasgow.
The team proposes to develop a series of community workshops on addressing household inequalities. The programme will be piloted in informal settlements in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania to test its design and impact on gender relations among low-income families. We would like participants, husbands and wives, to leave the programme with the belief that empowering women benefits everyone in the family; that by working together they can achieve goals they could not achieve on their own.
Our research is driven by the idea that gender equality starts at home. There are many barriers that block women’s progress. Their rights are sometimes denied by law, but yet, more often it is the cultural bias against women that put them in a marginalised and disadvantaged position. The household is a domain where unequal cultural norms are initially taught and reinforced.
Many women and girls around the world are denied basic rights, such as the right to education, to choose who to marry, to work, to hold and spend money, to plan their family, to speak up for themselves. With our workshops we want to provide a safe space for conversations about gender. These conversations will be an important aspect of moving towards greater gender equality; they generate change. People who come together to reflect collectively on their beliefs and experiences create a new understanding of reality that is no longer imposed on them but created by them.
As women’s progress is intertwined with the views of their husbands, we will work with both women and men on breaking down gender stereotypes. Shifting patriarchal culture towards a more equal society is only possible with men and women realising that they have to respect each other and that everyone has to be given an opportunity to grow.