In Ukraine, media explores gender biases through interactive theatre


The role play performed by workshop participants in Kramatorsk, April 2, 2017. UN Women/Oksana Parafeniuk
The role play performed by workshop participants in Kramatorsk. Photo: UN Women/Oksana Parafeniuk

Media representatives, civil society activists and gender equality advocates from conflict-affected communities in eastern Ukraine explored gender roles, behaviours and biases and acquired knowledge and tools for gender-sensitive media reporting.

Oksana Potapova and Nin Khodorivsko from Theatre for Dialogue in Severodonetsk, April 1, 2017
Oksana Potapova and Nin Khodorivsko from Theatre for Dialogue in Severodonetsk. Photo: UN Women/Oksana Parafeniuk 

The learning through the inter-active Forum Theatre – an approach, also called “The Theatre of the Oppressed,” was organized by UN Women in partnership with the “Theatre for Dialogue”, a non-profit organization, and brought together about 30 media representatives and civil society activists from Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts to raise their awareness about gender-biases and discrimination in media reporting.

During the training journalists from print, TV and social media outlets from the conflict-affected areas of Ukraine learned about gender inequalities, discrimination and gender-based violence. They practiced to apply tools for non-discriminatory media reporting about such issues as gender-based violence. Another important result of the training was building trust and cooperation between media and gender equality advocates for elimination of prevailed stereotypes and attitudes towards gender-based violence.

Final exercise during the workshop in Kramatorsk, April 2, 2017.
Final exercise during the workshop in Kramatorsk. Photo: UN Women/Oksana Parafeniuk

Together with gender experts, media representatives and gender equality advocates created a series of role-plays, where they got a chance to reflect upon gender roles in the society and discuss bottom-up solutions to address gender discrimination. While reporters played the roles of survivors of gender-based violence, the gender equality advocates found out how media professionals feel when reporting about such sensitive issues. Through inter-active exercises, rehearsals and role-plays, the workshop participants identified their own gender biases and the role of the media in exposing and eliminating gender stereotypes.

The workshops were organized in Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk 1-2 April, as a part of the framework of the UN Women-UNDP joint programme on Restoration of Governance and Reconciliation in crisis-affected communities in Ukraine, funded by the European Union.