Inter-American Forum



Inter-American Forum

"The Role of Education in Preventing Gender-based Violence"

Conference Description
February 7-8, 2002
San José, Costa Rica

Description | Participants | Presentations and Proceedings | Images

"Shattering myths and writing another kind of history, one that encourages the diversity of women's political participation, is the work of many years. When women are subordinated socially, economically, and politically, this work requires both collective and personal struggle in the search for justice and equality. . . . Education that incorporates these personal stories and social histories allows attitudes to be transformed, and encourages a new social environment that constitutes one approach to the prevention of all types of violence. It is one tool for planting and constructing a society with gender equity and peace, in which there is a common understanding that we build society and that all of us-women and men-are responsible for that society."
--Norma Quixtán, Guatemala

"The formal educational system has an important role in cultural change that transforms gender relationships. But an urgent and significant transformation is needed, in which families and schools have a coordinated responsibility in change to balance relationships between genders, but also between races and ethnicities. The topic of ethnicity must be assumed beginning in primary schools, encouraging an education that incorporates nonsexist and nonracist values."
--Altagracia Valdez Cordero, Dominican Republic

"Sexual harassment in school is illegal in the United States, yet according to several national studies, it is pervasive, with severe consequences. These studies, as well as the practices and programs that have evolved from them, have by and large excluded disabled student. Yet what little we know about sexual harassment and students with disabilities suggests they may be a particularly high risk, and girls may face some unique issues."
--Harilyn Rousso, United States

Thus began an inter-American forum held in February 2002, sponsored by the Gender, Diversities & Technology Institute at EDC and the Center for Research in Women's Studies (Centro de Investigación en Estudios de la Mujer) at the University of Costa Rica. The forum brought together researchers and practitioners from across the Americas to share their approaches to the theme of violence education and prevention. Representatives from 10 countries-Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and the United States of America-shared learnings and dialogued over the course of two days with the goal of exploring different contexts and approaches, as well as identifying possible areas in which to establish bridges and other forms of collaboration and cooperation.

Panels and discussion addressed such topics as "Reconceptualizing Gender-based Violence from the Perspectives of Diversity," "The Sociocultural Construction of Gender-based Violence," and "Networks, Interinstitutional Alliances, and the Prevention of Gendered Violence." Reflected Dr. Laura Guzmán, co-coordinator of the forum, "Despite the short amount of time we were together, we shared knowledge and experiences and gained a broad sense of what this group is doing. Larger events generally don't allow us reach this shared vision. We also worked to construct alliances, and to begin to establish relationships that are going to develop into working relationships and a different kind of collaboration from which each of us can benefit."

For further information or a copy of the forum proceedings contact Sundra Flansburg.