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

* 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“)

A Description of and an Argument for the position of Žába na prameni, civic association, in Gender Projects

„No – a woman is not better and, certainly, she is not worse than a man either; it depends on individuals. A woman and a man have been evolving together, they have been and still are influencing one another, therefore it is impossible that moral and spiritual characteristics of one should be lower or higher than those of the other.“

Tomáš G. Masaryk (1904)

Our aim is to find original means for motivating, involving and supporting the community in its participation in cultivated debates on gender stereotypes. We support the community’s ability to recognize populistic opinions of people, who obscure their personal interests by arguments about the innate nature of “traditional” men’s and women’s roles. We strive to contribute to the development of civic society that reflects gender issues in a broad scope of relations. Therefore, we encourage writing of essays and commentaries and creation of paintings, films, theater performances and other forms of artistic self-expression that hold up the mirror to our society, come out with questions, ponder the complexity of relations, experiences and arguments existing in today’s world, laboriously consider pros and cons, offer alternatives and/or seek concord. We support and educate independently thinking, active citizens of all genders, who try to understand both themselves and their community and do not let the world’s intricacy rid them of their sense of humor but, on the very contrary, let themselves be inspired by it.

Our starting points
We perceive masculinity and femininity as entities that are above all socially constructed and that overlap. The differences between women and men are thus seen as expressions of social power and language rather than expressions of nature and innate characteristics. In contradiction, the Czech society still understands masculinity and femininity as opposites. Definitions against the opposite represent merely one possibility, however. There are more kinds of masculinity and femininity. If there were no stereotypes (a man, the breadwinner, a woman, the caregiver, for example) that push us into these two boxes only and that seem to be internally homogenous and mutually exclusive, every person would be blended in a number of masculinities and femininities – like in a cocktail.

We discuss the varieties of masculinities and femininities especially because of the discrimination of those, who do not fit into the given boxes, who fail to live up to the traditional social expectations. It is no longer true that a man is only the breadwinner and a woman in only a caregiver. It is our aim to draw attention to the discrimination of „new“ women in the public sphere (lower salaries than men for the same work, for example) and related discrimination of „new“ men in the domestic sphere (limits set to childcare, for instance). A more just division of competencies requires changes in men’s and women’s behavior in both of the spheres. Decisive power that prevents these changes from taking place, however, is held by men profiting from the ideology of patriarchy.

Principles and Methods
• Both men and women are our target group. We work with them in a parallel way. Also, both men and women work in our organization. We work hard to be a gender-sensitive and gender-balanced organization.
• We work on action and edification levels at the same time. By action level we understand, for example, the organization of argumentation campaigns; by edification level we mean, for instance, the organization of seminars.
• We critically reflect on stereotypes hidden in some types of masculinity and femininity. It is our goal to change stereotypes unustly pertaining to women, gays, lesbians and also to different-„new“ men. Criticism for its own sake is not our aim: we try to bring together positive, alternative visions for both women and men.
• We motivate and invite diverse artistic forms of self-expression whose wide range of views makes it possible for us to reflect on our society and find alternative ways of living and being.
• The community is involved in our projects not only during our seminars, but also via the web – through discussions of various social issues, external contribution of articles and cooperation, through art competitions and other activities.
• Our websites display comprehensible and high-quality texts by various authors. We publish texts of our own as well.
• We try not to take ourselves too seriously and not to lose our link to humor which (unless practised at someone else’s harm) we consider to be an important element in a detached point of view that is necessary in educational and reflective activities.

To us, equality is not sameness, but diversity. Its prerequisite is an environment with equal opportunities which does not discipline because of difference, but on the contrary, helps everyone develop his/her genuineness and uniqueness.

Individual projects

Equal Opportunities in Pedagogical Practice – ww.rppp.cz * A project aimed at elementary and secondary schools teachers, organized from November 2005 to February 2007; publication: A Handbook of Good Practice: How to Teach Gender-Sensitively – Where to Begin

New Women – Women for the Civic Society – www.novezeny.eu * Supported by the ESF and the Budget of the Czech Republic * Educational argumentation campaign focused on supporting women in the public sphere and their own active participation in politics and civic society * Educational program for women disadvantaged on the labor market (maternity leave, pre-retirement period)

New men – men for the Family – www.novimuzi.eu * A „mirror image“ of the project Women for the Civic Society. Women’s involment in the public sphere will extremely difficult without men’s involvement in the family matters. * Argumentation campaign focused on the specific role of men-fathers within family.

Sour Frog Prize and Golden Frog Prize (Kyselá a Zlatá žába) – www.kyselazaba.cz * In September 2006, together with Slovak-Czech Women´s Fund, we declared the 1st annual public competition, whose goal is to initiate a discussion about non-discriminatory use of the Czech language and draw attention to phenomena, statements, situations that are unfair to men or women. * Golden Frog Prize (Zlatá žába) is a way how to draw attention to good examples of positive progress in understanding the issues related to equal opportunities.

Golden Frog Theater Prize – www.zlatazaba.cz * In February 2007, thanks to cooperation with Slovak-Czech Women´s Fund, we invited applications for the 1st annual drama competition Golden Frog Theater Prize which will reward the best contemporary play reflecting the issue of equal opportunities of men and women * The competition also aims to show that feminism is not to be feared, that all of us should have equal opportunities, that gender is not a vulgar word, that stereotypes can be both positive and negative, that prejudices manipulate and that the best for all of us would be, if we could be ourselves without restrains.

Clever Frog – www.chytrazaba.cz * An e-learning program focused on professional education of township municipality representatives who, without any prior preparation, are faced with municipality management. * Supported by the ESF, the Budget of the Czech Republic and the Region of Central Bohemia (Středočeský kraj).

Líšeňská žába na prameni (The Frog in Líšnice) * We work in the Líšnice municipality * We publish newspaper titled Líšnická Žába (Líšnice Frog) * We organize children’s singing competition titled soutěž Líšnický slavík * We organize a variety of cultural and social events for parents and their children

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