Gender & The Union is a new four-part podcast series exploring the importance of policy changes to combat gender-based violence (GBV) in the European Union, and why Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) is key to creating an equal and safe future for all. 

Each episode features an open dialogue between policy and decision makers in the EU and the young people advocating for positive change. Topics include the importance of access to sexuality education to develop life skills needed to foster healthier and safer relationships, based on equality and respect; prevention of violence through education; dismantling harmful gender norms; and the impact of inequalities on youth and marginalised groups.  

Combatting GBV Through Theatre  

Our Gender & The Union series has been developed through the EC funded project, Youth SpectActors. Implemented in Serbia, Romania, Latvia and Estonia, the Youth SpectActors project addresses the root causes of gender-based violence (GBV), particularly traditional patriarchal systems based on harmful and rigid gender norms around masculinity and femininity, gender-based discrimination, and unequal power relations. 

Young people are at the centre of our intervention, because of the far-reaching impact of GBV in their lives – as survivors, perpetrators, or bystanders. We believe that young people play a key role as change agents. 

Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE), in and out of school settings, is crucial in ensuring the safe emotional and physical development of young people. 

We run theatre-based workshops where participants get to walk in one another’s shoes to help challenge and dismantle ‘gender roles’. Gender roles are merely roles that we are playing all our lives, which is why playing them on the stage makes perfect sense. By dismantling archaic stereotypes, we can foster equality and prevent violence and coercion within relationships. 

Episode 1: Advancing Gender Equality 

What are the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union when it comes to promoting EU values, including advancing gender equality and combatting gender-based violence? What are the challenges young people are facing concerning violations of gender equality and harmful practices? And how has COVID-19 impacted the lives of women and girls seeking education and safety from violence at home?  

The President of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality of Portugal, Sandra Ribeiro, and Susan, a youth activist from Estonia discuss the prevention of violence through education and dismantling harmful gender norms. The episode is moderated by Catherine Bailey Gluckman, Programme Advisor for Youth, IPPF European Network (EN). 

Listen to episode 1:

This podcast series was commissioned by the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network. It is produced by Positive Stories and funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020), within the framework of the Youth SpectActors project. The content of this podcasts represents only the views of IPPF EN and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains. 

Watch: Confronting gender stereotypes in Serbia 

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