ŽÁBA NA PRAMENI, o.s.
rozcestník hlavních aktivit a projektů
osvěta, vzdělávání, kulturní aktivity,
vyrovnávání šancí žen a mužů,
rozvoj občanské společnosti

Žába na prameni, civic association

06. 02. 2008, rubrika: english

Žába na prameni, civic association was established in March 2005. The name of the civic association was inspired by a statue of a frog that disappeared mysteriously from the bank of the pond in Líšnice, west of Prague, in 2002 („Žába na prameni“ stands for English „A frog sitting on the mouth of a spring“ but idiomatically also refers to „the fly in the ointment“). Our aim is to find original means for motivating, involving and supporting the community in its participation in cultivated debates on gender stereotypes.

  1. About Us
  2. Sour Frog Competition
  3. Projects
  4. Lecture of Glenda McNaughton
  5. The school of Equal Opportunity
  6. Little Inventory in the ‘Nablizko’ Theatre
  7. Feminism Poll

About Us

Zaba na prameni is participating on educational and preventive activities in the field of equal Opportunity of men and women. We prepare projects, seminars and workshops focused on gender issues.

What is Zaba na prameni?

Zaba na prameni (Frog on the Spring) is a civil association founded in March 2005 to make our ideas about the world of equal opportunity real. If we want to change something, we need to start from the basis. It is for us the education at schools in the hands of the teachers. That is why we have started our first big project aimed at the education of the teachers in gender issues and equal opportunity. This project, called ‘Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice’ is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the state budget of the Czech Republic.

Who are we?

Mgr. Dana Radová

Project manager, two children, graduate of the Faculty of Education of Charles University in Prague, major in Art education and pedagogy of elementary and secondary art schools.
In my free time – which depends on how much do I actually get in the world of prejudices and unequal chances – I act in an unprofessional theatre group, paint, sing, grow plants… and drive the best car in the world. It is for me the Citroen 2CV – the car that is driven by crazy nuns in French comedies . Well, I am certainly not a nun; I am married and have two sons (16 and 3 years old). Therefore I am also motivated in my gender activities so that our future daughters-in-law wouldn’t need to ‘reclaim’ our sons.

Hana Květová

Finance projects manager, three children, currently on maternity leave and studying at Czech Agricultural University in Prague, Economic faculty.

I am a keen voluntary fire fighter, I play football and I like to go for a beer from time to time. I am constantly studying or counting (either my children, or money ). Two and a half-year ago I gave birth to triplets, and – every now and then they drive me mad. The maternity leave with triplets is everything but a ‘leave’ rather a pretty triple rush, yet with a single parental benefit.

Mgr. Anna Babanová

Project co-ordinator, graduate of the Faculty of Education of Charles University in Prague, major in Art education and pedagogy of elementary and secondary art schools.
I haven’t got any children yet, though I am looking forward to having some. So, before they come, I am making an effort to make my world to be the place of equal opportunity for everybody. Am I painting it in bright colours? Well, then I need to add that painting is my great hobby 

Jozef Miškolci M.A.

Expert project assistant, graduate of Central European University in Budapest, major in Gender Studies.

Karel Snášel

Technical assistant, student of Jan Amos Komenský University, major in Social and Mass Communication

Together with the partner organizations (Partners Czech, Open Society, Step by Step Czech Republic) there are 40 external lecturers practically participating on our pilot project. They are specialists on gender, equal opportunity, feminist theories, sociology, psychology, pedagogy, methodology, drama education, art education, new technologies, etc. These people make the Team of Specialists and Lecturers (TSL). The team leader is a sociologist Mgr. Lucie Jarkovská from the Faculty of Social Studies of the Masaryk University in Brno. At the same time she is a professional guarantor for the Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice project.

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Civil Association Zaba na prameni (Frog on the Spring) is starting a new competition ‘Sour Frog’

Motto: If we want to get rid of certain phenomena, we need to promote them first.

The aim of the competition is to draw the public’s attention to the sexist and gender stereotypical expression of the editors of different media (television, newspapers, magazines, radio etc.), to the statements of the public figures and also to gender incorrect films, programmes and advertisement. We hope to awaken the public to gender incorrectness in language and communication not just in media, but also in everyday life. At the same time we are going to offer the guidelines for using the language so that it does not favour or discriminate anybody.

The categories are:

  1. Sexist statement of a journalist (TV, newspapers, magazines, radio etc.)
  2. Sexist statement of a culture, sport and science personality
  3. Sexist statement of a politician
  4. Sexist TV programme (series, show etc.)
  5. Sexist life situation

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Projects

Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice

The civil association Zaba na prameni introduces its pilot project Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice. This project is aimed at putting the gender sensitive teaching into practice at basic schools. Its aim is to educate teachers in gender issues and equal opportunity and help them this way to bring up and educate the children without prejudices of traditionally given social roles of men and women.

In this project (EOTP) we cooperate with a team of experts and lecturers in gender studies, equal opportunity, sociology, psychology, pedagogy, methodology etc. as well as the team of elementary school teachers. They would bring the experts a valuable feedback based on real teaching experience. Thanks to this cooperation we created a unique educational programme Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice which was tested at the six whole-day seminars within six months. The outcome of the whole project is a functioning educational module that will include verified methodology and practical instructions for incorporating the principles of equal opportunity into the teaching process. This methodology will be summed up by the experts in the Book of Good Practice. It will mediate the strategies for helping the teachers to weaken the inappropriate gender stereotypes and bring up a new generation in the spirit of equal opportunity principles.

Why equal opportunity?

Our main interest is life without inappropriate gender stereotypes that offers equal opportunity to everybody. We wish for everyone, and our children especially, to have the same possibility to develop their personalities and become whatever they want, regardless of social prejudices. There are demonstrably much more differences between individual men and women than there are between the groups of men and women. The same applies to racial and ethnic prejudices. Therefore the personal abilities of individual women, men, members of various social and ethnic groups do not need to correspond to the deep-rooted preconceptions which judge the individuals according to the qualities stereotypically ascribed to an entire group.

The time has come to stop making bugaboo out of the terms such as gender, feminism and equal opportunity. It is time to start understanding them and using them properly. Feminism is still connected with a dangerous ideology by many people and most of them avoid using this word just because they are afraid of being socially discredited. We profess feminism and we wish to eliminate the fear of this concept by offering the insight to gender issues and equal opportunity, its history as well as present situation, so that they become a part of everyday life of teachers and children.

The topic of equal opportunity for men, women, girls and boys has been one of the government’s priorities. The principles of equal opportunity are established in the governmental document “Priorities and the Action Plan of the Government in Promoting Equality between Men and Women”. This issue is also in the limelight of the EU policies and the priority of the official European documents. In the mid-October 2005 the government adopted the National Conception of Family Policy. The document is the first if its kind and it aims to strengthen the position of the family in the Czech society, to create the generally more favourable social climate as well as conditions for the family and enable people to combine their professional and parental roles. It also contains the steps that should lead to the greater involvement of the father within the family while respecting different interests and needs of different types of families and family members.

Within the scope of the efforts to promote equal opportunity and non-discrimination in the EU the year 2007 has been proclaimed by the European Commission to be the European year of equal opportunity for everyone.

What do we offer?

We will contribute to the upbringing of the generation that will be able to create a society respectful to the need of equal opportunity for everyone.

We will make a practical and understandable guideline for the way to transform the theory of gender issues and equal opportunity into the educational practice. Our point is to set the message of gender studies in the real life of all of us and primarily our children.

Together with the teachers we will open up the topic of gender sensitive education and equal opportunity at schools, which is one of the priorities of the governmental document mentioned above. Here we quote article no. 3.7: “To continue in realisation of educational programmes for pedagogues and educators in the field of equal opportunity of men and women with a goal to provide them with effective strategies for gender sensitive teaching.”

We will verify and offer the way to practice gender sensitive education and equal opportunity in individual school subjects and education. That way we will bring the topic of gender to the youngest generation’s notice as something taken for granted.

The specialists and lecturers together with the teachers will adapt and verify the new approaches and methodology on our pilot seminars. We also offer the equal opportunity by putting a pressure on the information literacy of the teachers and using computers in a teaching process. Unfortunately, digital cameras, film cameras and computers are still not the common tools at our schools. The children can often use these technologies better then the teachers.

Besides the pilot seminars and conferences we will offer the information about the whole project and gender issues and equal opportunity on a special server. We expect the teachers, parents and public join us and help us with their reflections, confrontations and experience to prepare a functional methodology for the new school free of prejudice and inappropriate stereotypes.
From the mid-January 2006 we will offer to all basic schools the Internet bi-monthly and newsletter about gender and equal opportunity, its application into the teaching practice, seminars and other events.

Partner Organizations

Our partner organizations are Partners Czech, Open Society and Step by Step Czech Republic. The leader of the Specialists and Lecturers Team is a sociologist Mgr. Lucie Jarkovská from the Faculty of Social Studies of the Masaryk University in Brno, who is at the same time a professional guarantor for the Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice project.
The project Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice is co-financed by European Social Fund and the Czech Republic budget.

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Public lecture of an Australian professor Glenda MacNaughton

The civil association Frog on the Spring together with the Department of Gender Studies, Faculty of Humanistic Studies, Charles University cordially invites you to the unique seminar ‘Constructing pedagogies for gender fairness: puzzles, possibilities and politics‘ of the Australian professor Glenda MacNaughton of Faculty of Education, The University of Melbourne.
Place: Department of Gender Studies, Faculty of Humanistic Studies, Charles University, Prague, U Kříže 10, 158 00, Prague 5, room 3015
Date: January 13th, 2006
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Language: English

Short annotation

Gender and its effects in the lives of young children often puzzles early childhood teachers. Sometimes, puzzlement arises from the presence of gender as a factor in children’s ways of being, doing, thinking and feeling on a daily basis. At other times, teachers are puzzled by the persistence of many children’s traditionally gendered ways in the face of teachers’ and parents’ non-sexist hopes, desires and actions. This session will explore how engaging with the possibilities of feminist poststructuralism and in particular its capacity to analysis knowledge-power relations within early childhood classrooms can provoke a rethink of gender equity pedagogies. To show the power of feminist poststructuralism as a tool of pedagogical analysis and action I draw on case studies of children’s and teachers’ efforts to create gender fair and safe early childhood classrooms. My aim is to illustrate how feminist poststructuralist analysis gender can be undertaken and to illustrate how it can be used to provoke teachers to act in new ways for gender equity in their classrooms.

Glenda MacNaughton

Glenda MacNaughton is a professor at the Department of Learning and Educational Development, Faculty of Education, The University of Melbourne and a founder and director of the Centre for Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood. Her interest is focused on topic of social equity in early childhood education, the development of the school curriculum creating and the possibilities of innovation in early childhood education. In her research she is engaged in children’s understanding and conceiving social equity and diversity in relation to innovative school curricula and teacher education to critical thinking. At present she researches the approaches to gender reinterpretation in early childhood. She is interested in the way gender, class and “race” dissolve and form the children’s identity in educational process. Her Prague visit is connected with her participation in our project Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice.

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The school of equal opportunity

The motto of the opening conference Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice became a wish to liberate school from gender stereotypes that are still ruling it.

At Zbraslav Castle, Prague, on Saturday 14th January 2006 the Czech and Slovak specialists on gender studies, equal opportunity, sociology, psychology, pedagogy and methodology came together for the opening conference of the Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice project (EOTP). As the future realizers of a unique educational module they were preparing themselves for cooperation and were looking for the most efficient ways to incorporate gender and equal opportunity issues into the Czech educational system – with the active help of the teachers themselves. Their aim is to create such methods that will arise straight from the teachers’ practice and experience and will help them to bring up and educate children without prejudices about traditionally given roles of women and men and guide them to respecting the need for equal opportunity for everybody.

One of the speaking guests was Anna Čurdová, a deputy and a secretary of an interest movement Social Democratic Women. As a parliament member, she has a lot of experience with the politicians’ attitudes towards gender issues. They range from ‘the society is not prepared for such issues’ to a complete allergy. On every level they basically think these issues are nothing to be dealt with.

She joked about the Ministry of Defence, where the equal opportunity are given as order, and was sorry that we cannot change everything at once. She said she would go on with persuading her political party colleagues about the importance of gender issues in their party programme.

Another important personality of the conference was Glenda McNaughton from Faculty of Education of Melbourne University. In her inspiring lecture she joined gender theory and educational practice. She is convinced gender plays an important role not just in adults’ lives, but in children’s ones as well. As she is focused on very young children (up to eight years old), she has experience of their gender and sexist behaviour from very young age.

Gender sensitive education has been dealing with the basic question – how to find the best way. As she said, there is of course no easy solution, and for her asking questions is far more important than finding the exact answers. The truth is, however the teachers try, the children are very much formed by their social and family background, and they often refuse the gender sensitive behaviour, toys etc. and they insist on their stereotypical notion.

According to McNaughton, the solution should be calling things their real names and creating the environment of a dialogue and respect in classrooms. The teacher must be an active element in gender discussions not necessarily change children’s opinions, but broaden their notion about social roles of men and women and general idea of social justice. The teachers should be finding out about the children’s own notion of their gender, their opinions on difficulties and attractions of being a man or a woman, their own feelings and behaviour.

Irena Smetáčková from Faculty of Pedagogical and School Psychology, Charles University, was meditating about what the society expects from educational institutions. In her research she has been looking for answers to many questions dealing with one main issue: Why had the transformation efforts in educational process been so often unsuccessful? Recently she has been dealing with one particular dilemma: the school should conserve the traditions and pass them on to keep the continuity, and at the same time improve the society through children’s education. She feels that it is not enough to appeal to the teachers only, but to the school management as well. It is also necessary to change the legislative framework.

The project Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice aims at dealing with gender issues at schools throughout the subjects and by means of creative methods such as art education, drama education, critical thinking and working with recording technologies. At a conference we also had teachers working with these methods, and they were looking for ways to join them with gender issues and equal opportunity. They were Marie Fulková from Faculty of Art Education, Charles University, Jan Mašek from Faculty of Education, West-Bohemian University in Pilsen (use of new technologies in education), and Irena Holemá, the drama education basic school teacher.

Many of the conference participants will go on working together with the Prague basic school teachers in the ‘Zaba’ project for the following year. They will be trying to find solution for changing at least something in the issue of equal opportunity in educational process.

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The Little Inventory in the ‘Nablizko’ Theatre – the theatre experiment

In this year’s unique new theatre show The Little Inventory there was a time for our civil association to come out with a little interactive contribution before every performance. We tried to show people’s stereotypical perception of the men and women social roles in a humorous way.

In the festival ‘Frog’ decided to expose themselves as well as the theatre audience to an experiment. Anna and Jozef in pink and blue overalls stood on the stage and projected a short animated film showing the men-women stereotypes in a funny way. Then they opened an illustrative discussion about these stereotypes, where Anna was trying to make Jozef see the film again – from a feminist point of view.

How did this experiment work with the audience? Positively as well as negatively, but mostly we saw people making faces. Was it because they do not consider this topic to be serious enough? Because they actually do not understand where we see the problem? Or were they not appealed to the form of our message?

The obvious thing was that even if the people were amused by the first projection, they did not find the second one all that amusing. May be the repeated joke… or did some of them realize the fact that if we compare men and women stereotypes, the women come out as the less ‘capable’ to fit in the values that are generally more appreciated and pointed out by our society? We don’t know. Anyway, the positive feedback of some women and men is motivating us to carry on working and ‘moving’ the point of view that is providing men and women with the same space for attention and social appreciation.

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How do you understand the term ‘feminism’? / The enquiry among the participants of our seminars

At the fourth seminar of the educational module Equal Opportunity in Teaching Practice we asked our participants a few questions. Here are some of the answers.

How do you understand the term ‘feminism’? What is your attitude towards it?

“Before I started coming to the seminars, my view of feminism was probably a bit biased – too negative. Now I understand it as a movement that is trying to break social stereotypes to make everybody think about their roles, positions and expected behaviour. It is necessary for the women and girls to stop being so inferior and appreciate themselves more, otherwise nothing important will ever change.”

“Men are afraid of feminism, and avoid, or even humiliate women who folow it. They say these women need to put themselves in the limelight. Many of them take it as a deviation. I myself think that to fight this is a persistent and long-term objective and it is necessary to handle it sensitively and not to ‘provoke’.

“My attitude to feminism is positive. I welcome every effort, initiative leading towards pointing out something seemingly obvious, but still questionable.”

“ I see feminism as a movement of many levels, which is unified by the effort of equal status of men and women. My attitude to feminism is very positive – I think that every decent person is actually a feminist (this is someone’s quote )”

When and how did you experience the gender insight? Can you describe it?

“Gender insight is more and more obvious on me. I feel that I perceive situations that I would not even stick at before. It involves complete details not just in my personal life, but also in the relationship with my colleagues, friends, and also details in films, TV programmes etc. It is so enriching!”

“It was after I came back after my maternity leave. I was doing the same job as the men, with higher education but less money. However, I had to be ‘glad’, as the other women were about two ranks lower.”

Do you feel disappointed about gendering the reality that you have not seen before? Or do you experience the joy of learning something new? Explain why.

“It is a new learning and I feel happy about it, because I found a name for something I felt inside before.”

“Disappointment as well as joy. I realize how much expanded and rooted the gendering is.

I am happy to be able to perceive the world around me through the gender perspective. It broadens my horizons, it makes the world more interesting for me, but also more painful, and not only if it involves me personally. I feel relief from the fact that I understand the cause of some problems in society – and helplessness at the same time that my generation and probably the next one too, won’t be able to change it so far. I am very happy about every activity, as for example this seminar, regardless of the fact that most of people do not understand ‘what it’s all about’. THANK YOU!

“I rather feel joy and enrichment. I realize how difficult and lengthy the change towards the gender correct society will be. It very much depends on women, their confidence and self-esteem. I am glad to be here and learn new things.”

“I feel disappointment about the obstruction with stereotypes of the contemporary Czech (European) society – it is delaying us a lot. At the same time I am happy about spontaneous activities emerging from ‘below’, and remedy the injustice in concrete places – e.g. in education (Frog on the Spring), in theatre, The Week of Respect to Childbirth, gender studies at universities in Prague and Brno etc.”

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