Out of the house and into society
- CIRUM has just completed a documentary film “Out of the house and into society”, featuring four women from rural Vietnam telling the stories of the barriers they faced as they tried to move from housework to work outside of the home. The documentary is accompanied by a training guide which allows participants to explore the themes raised by the film. CIRUM has also produced another documentary, “What about girls?” which follows the story of a Tay ethnic minority couple from Bac Kan province, and the difficulties they faced in sending their three daughters to university. CIRUM plans to use the materials and documentaries for its gender analysis and baseline studies, and an important first step for any project intervention.
CIRUM and its LISO alliance partners have been working with the women (Kinh and Dao) and in their communities for 20 years. Now they have asked the women, their families and those in the community to honestly reflect on their journeys from housewives to community leaders. The stories are true stories with authentic voices, and offer a deep and practical way of opening the discussion of women’s participation and equality in rural communities.
The documentaries and training guides are a product of CIRUM’s gender action research carried out in March and April of this year. Our purpose was to improve our practice and to find out how we could support women’s participation more in LandNet activities. It quickly became clear that for a woman to be involved in work outside of the home she needed the support of her husband and family: in the first place simply to trust her enough and allow her to leave her home environment; secondly to share the burden of housework and family work that would normally be her responsibility. Importantly, we found that the larger family and community also has to understand and support both the women, and the husbands who are supporting these women.
For us, the process of collecting these stories and developing the materials has served as an important capacity building exercise for CIRUM staff in research and documentary making and contributed to organisational understanding on gender.
CIRUM has developed a strategy for using the materials they have developed. These materials can be used as stand-alone gender analysis and gender baseline gathering or awareness raising materials, or they can be part of any project approach into a community. The documentaries and course guide can act as an important foundation for a project intervention: gathering information, opening deep discussion on important gender issues at village and community level, and offering solutions to the problems and barriers to empowerment discovered by the training in each particular community.
At the end of the training, it is hoped that participants have identified the important themes governing gender relations; to have discovered possible solutions; to have made individual and community gender action plans; and to have identified and possibly recruited participants for the gender ambassador network that CIRUM is developing. Both men and women will be encouraged to become contact persons in this network. These ambassador network members will become gender speakers to exchange in further trainings and to support the project in the community.
CIRUM will be delivering this training in their own project areas as a normal part of their work, and also as a foundation for their upcoming livelihoods grants over the next three years. Anyone is welcome to use these materials, or our gender and communications team can deliver them on request.