Students express visions through art on gender equality

“Girls and boys are sensitive, but girls show it more,” said Julie, 11, when asked about the differences between boy and girls. For Tiago, 18, “women take care of the house, while men do nothing”, while for Mathieu, 13, “men earn money to feed their family.”

One of the winning images of the Competition “RACONTE-MOI LES DROITS DE L’HOMME” © Vivcie BENDO & Rafael TEIXEIRA Thibault, aged 11, thinks that “girls pay more attention to their hair than boys.”

Gender stereotypes and discrimination is the theme of an exhibition called “Osez l'égalité: Homme/Femme: abolir clichés et discriminations” presented by the UN Human Rights office in Geneva.

The exhibit features drawings, posters, collages, photos, comics and paintings by the winners of the competition “Raconte-moi les droits de l’homme”, which invited young students to express their vision of gender equality through art. The competition was launched in autumn 2010 by the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH).

The artworks illustrate children’s interpretations of the inequality between men and women, boys and girls that they see in their everyday lives.

An important objective of this initiative, which was open to Geneva students aged 8-18, was to promote reflection, with the support of their teachers, on the existence of stereotypes that are instilled and acquired as a cultural product since early childhood and that perpetuate discriminatory behaviors.

Gender equality is central to achieving the Millennium Developments Goals - a set of 8 goals to improve global world-wide living standards – and creating a world of equity and respect. It furthers the cause of child survival and development by ensuring that girls and boys have equal access to food, health care, education, protection from harm and opportunities.

The competition and the exhibit are part of the pedagogical programme of the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights which, held every year in Geneva, aims to promote and defend human rights and raise awareness about human rights issues.

The educational programme, launched in 2005 and organized in partnership with the UN Human Rights office and the Geneva Department of Public Education, is a contribution to the UN World Programme for Human Rights Education, which seeks to promote a common understanding of basic principles and methodologies of human rights education, to provide a concrete framework for action and to strengthen partnerships and cooperation from the international level down to the grass roots.

The exhibition will be on display at the UN building in Geneva during the UN Human Rights Council meeting, from 12 to 30 September 2011.

6 September 2011