“There are still many gender stereotypes in the Belarusian society”

Olga“Gender is treated as a cross-cutting issue in the Institute’s cooperation with Belarus,” says Olga Bezbozhna, Programme Officer at RWI.

Since the Institute has an academic cooperation and works with academic institutions in Belarus, the cooperation contributes to the achievement of gender equality in the country through education, research, outreach, and institutional structures.

“The objective of the cooperation is to ensure that the research carried out within the cooperation is gender-aware and addresses gender issues that are relevant in Belarus, and RWI supports the researchers in Belarus who are interested in this topic,” says Olga.

One of the ways is to connect the researchers in Belarus with peers from other countries. The international conference Ready for Dialogue in Berlin in November was a chance to do just that, and it had gender issues as a focus.

The conference aimed at initiating a strategic dialogue among relevant national and European key players, such as associations, (research) institutions, and organisations that work within and outside the university context on the integration of the gender dimension in science and research.

The aim is to foster the exchange between “knowledge” and “political action” and to strengthen and expand existing approaches in both areas and to develop a roadmap for the institutionalization of a regular dialogue.

Elena Yakimovich, PhD and associate professor at the Faculty of Management Technologies and Humanitarization of the Belarusian National Technical University, presented her work at the conference. We sat down with her to ask her a few questions about her research.

Tell us about your presentation and what problem you address?

My presentation, “Together to Gender Equality,” reflects the main directions of research in the field of gender equality and human rights, which is conducted at the Faculty of Management Technologies and Humanitarization of the Belarusian National Technical University. Since one of the objectives of the National Gender Plan of the Republic of Belarus for 2011-2015 is the implementation of gender knowledge in the educational process, the faculty is taking a number of measures to achieve this objective.

Why is this important to you and to Belarus?

The Republic of Belarus is working hard to promote gender equality. However, there still remains a large number of gender stereotypes in the Belarusian society. That hinders the establishment of new sociology and cultural values and norms.

What further steps do you, as a researcher and teacher, foresee to address this problem?

Since our faculty trains specialists for both economic and technical functions, we plan to expand the gender component in engineering science and technologies in the future. That will affect the environment and the further development of technology, and hopefully it will be friendly to all groups.

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute Institute has an academic cooperation with academic institutions in Belarus to increase their capacity to give the best possible education in human rights and to increase their capacity to do high quality research and outreach activities.

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