Gender Identities Workshop

Choosing Diversity-AMAKA

In the context of the “Introduction to Advertising and Public Relations” course of the Department of Communication, Media and Culture of Panteion University, we were invited to split into groups and create our own Start-Up company. Our team consists of people with the same values, ambitions and aspirations; thus, we started a company based on diversity and inclusivity, promoting a mindset of equality called Choosing Diversity. During the construction of this project, we had the opportunity to collaborate and approach clients already in a place of success, gain feedback from them and understand the proper way of providing services through a fruitful agency.

In this article, we are excited to share our collaboration with the non-profit organisation AMAKA, the process of approaching them and the final product we came up with.

But first, who is AMAKA?

AMAKA is a Greek NGO founded in Athens in 2008. Its aim is the organisation and operation of art workshops primarily for people facing adversity and social exclusion, such as refugees, imprisoned individuals, underprivileged social groups and all who feel the need to express themselves through art. Art, in this case, is valued as a therapeutic tool and a human right. AMAKA offers intercultural education programs, art therapy and the design and implementation of programs or seminars. AMAKA’s projects include the Re-Flower Project, the Walk and Topos!Lefkada. The target audience is young people living urban lives, immigrants and underprivileged social groups -therapy is both for teams and individuals, while they cooperate with musicians, animators and educators.

For Choosing Diversity it is crucial that our clients and collaborators share with us a common understanding concerning our values as we support diversity, promote inclusivity and fight for equality in all aspects of life. Our vision is a world with diverse settings, where we are all celebrated and have equal access to opportunities in life. AMAKA is an NGO that embodies all the aforementioned beliefs and shares with us the mission of cultivating social skills and knowledge in order to achieve this. For an inclusive and better future, for a globally supportive mentality.

AMAKA was significantly approachable and willing to collaborate with us by enabling us to collect all the relevant information and guide us through the form of a workshop that was expected from us. Their instant replies through our digital communication along with their clear and certain requests were constructive as we were able to come up with a workshop that reflects our expertise while delivering them important material for their seminars and projects. After extended research, we came up with a workshop regarding gender identities and how to create an inclusive environment for educational and leadership purposes. Through this poject, we aim to raise awareness, drive more individuals to understand someone’s vision of themselves, celebrate intersectionality and promote gender diversity and gender-inclusive language.

We decided to divide the workshop into two main categories; the first one addresses educational institutes, schools and organisations that offer classes and related courses, while the other addresses HR departments and workspaces that aim to transform their policies into an inclusive model gender-wise. We decided to divide the workshop into two main categories; the first addresses educational institutes, schools and organisations that offer classes and related courses, while the other addresses HR departments and workspaces that aim to transform their policies into an inclusive model gender-wise. Both workshops share the topic “Gender Identities & How to create an inclusive environment”, though each has a different approach.

Regarding the educational workshops, we built content that analyses major points. To begin with, we should define gender identity; elaborating on terms such as gender expression, cisgender, and gender diversity. Providing a complete terminology index with the relevant explanation is crucial for understanding gender identities. In addition, we prepared a list of terms and definitions that should be avoided, providing ways to teach gender-neutral language and comprehensive learning of pronouns. In addition, we clarify the reasons why Gender Diversity might impact the school experience, so students, educators and institutes understand and promote the importance of creating a safe space for everyone in the context of schooling. Finally, after extended research, we managed to create a guide on what teachers and institutes can do so we can ensure the inclusion of a setting. Using inclusive language, that includes not only genders but types of families as well, while always responding to hurtful speech is essential to reach our goal. Furthermore, a total review of the curriculum is crucial to making a sustainably safe environment for everyone and we came up with a variety of suggestions that could be implemented in any educational system. By the end of this workshop, we aim to inspire and educate everyone on gender-wise topics and to promote an inclusive model of education. Of course, by the end of the workshop, we provide literature suggestions if anyone wants to depth their knowledge in relevant fields.

Relative to the abovementioned project structure, we built the workshop that addresses the workspace and how it can transform into a safe environment. Similar to the educational workshop, it is crucial to provide terminology in order to understand gender identity, social gender and gender expression. Our research showed us that many people, especially Millenials and older, confuse gender with sexual orientation; thus we prepared an extended guide to substantially understand those terms. Furthermore, we focused on providing essential information regarding the benefits of celebrating and including gender diversity in the workplace. Companies and start-ups must know how beneficiary this model is for the sustainability of their business identity. Also, we analysed what should be done to encourage diversity and gender-inclusive language along with how to cultivate a culture of safety. Finally, we focus on how revision and revise of HR Policies should be conducted and which changes should be implemented to such models. It is crucial for everyone to know that their workspace safety is being safeguarded by certain policies that are not debatable.

What is more, we designed an extended communication plan regarding the promotion of the workshop in order to provide AMAKA with a complete project. According to our plan, the communication strategy is constituted by three pillars:

• the social media promotion,

• the promotion to individuals,

  • the promotion through collaborators.

More specifically, in contemplation of promoting the workshop through social media, we suggested introducing new Instagram and Facebook campaigns regarding gender identities and inclusivity using both our and AMAKA’S accounts, applying relevant hashtags to platforms such as Twitter. Furthermore, we aim to approach a variety of LGBTQ+i accounts and collaborate with them concerning the promotion of the workshop. Individuals will be aware through newsletters, in-person interviews with people from the community and the promotion of a questionnaire. This is essential to us, as we believe that we should give space and voice to people that are directly in the LGBTQ+i community and learn from people considering that we approach a social matter. Along with AMAKA, we aim to invite more collaborators to contribute to our mission such as NGOs with similar values, Pride Organization and AMAKA’s collaborators.

Through our start-up, Choosing Diversity, we made our association with AMAKA official via our digital presence on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and our Website. We were more than excited when AMAKA re-shared our story on their Instagram account welcoming our collaboration and highlighting the start of a promising partnership.
Choosing Diversity and AMAKA share a truly critical vision, a world in which everyone belongs and is celebrated. Diversity, equality and inclusion are not optional, they are necessities and the sense of belonging is undoubtedly a human right that we all need to safeguard.

On our social media channels and website you can also find useful information about the collaboration: Website, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.

Elpida Charitou Maria Agiovlasiti Betty Tsakarestou

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