An experience in the Basic Professional Training Center of Margotu Association

Margotu Association is a non-profit entity which among other services, manages a Basic Professional Training Center. The purpose of this training is to facilitate the students’ permanence in the educational system and offer them greater possibilities for their personal and professional development. We offer the following professional profiles:

  • Hairdressing
  • Beauty
  • Administrative Services
  • Electricity and Electronics

This training program was born out of the belief that education is a huge contributor to creating a more equal and fair society. For this reason, our organization has moved towards the construction of a co-educational Center, whose objective is the gradual elimination of gender-based inequalities, not only in the formal structure of the center itself, but also in the ideology and educational practice. It’s an attempt to retrieve all the positive aspects of the male culture and the female one and turn them into behavioural referents that are not dichotomously-associated to a determined gender, in a way that enhances the human development of both men and women adolescents and are considered as people with unique identity outside of gender stereotypes. This educational approach is essential to promoting the equality of opportunities between women and men, which in turn prevents violence against women and encourages their empowerment.

The training consist of 2 years and the students work on the following aspects:

  • Sex-gender system.
  • Social networks and gender stereotypes.
  • Discrimination areas, sexism and gender roles.
  • Equal language.
  • Affective education in equality.
  • Prevention of violence against women and education on the structure of good relationships: the normalization of violence today is worrisome.
  • Good treatment culture.

The work we have conducted with our students confirms that, although the fight for equality has made great strides, there is still some way to go in overcoming stereotypes that give rise to discrimination and inequality in employment practices.

Often the choices we make with regard to our professional training are conditioned by stereotypes and gender mandates. Indeed, women tend more to personal image- and care-related careers, while men are led to undertake industry- or construction-related activities. Students that arrive to Margotu are between 15 and 17 years old. The distribution by gender and professional profile among our courses has been the following:

  • Beauty: 96% of women and 4% others.
  • Electricity and Electronics: 96% of men and 4% women.
  • Hairdressing: 63% of women and 37% men.
  • Administrative Services: 85% women, 11% men and 3% others.

On the basis of this data, it seems important to us to perform a critical analysis of masculinity and femininity models existing among our students and encouraging them to search for new opportunities and discover new horizons.

We reflect with them the ‘hidden’ gendered factors that have conditioned them to choose a career over another. We offer them an opportunity to remove the idea of ‘masculine or feminine professions’, while encouraging them to make a change by discovering different perspectives.

To achieve this, we conduct an activity called ‘PROFESSIONALS FOR A DAY’ which consists of professional workshops in which guys carry out ‘typically female’ activities in hairdressing and beauty workshops, while the girls perform ‘typically male’ activities in the Electricity workshop. The objective is to enable the change of roles and experience.

In short, we consider it necessary to promote equal opportunities among the Basic Professional Training, by questioning gender roles, preventing violence against women and encouraging their empowerment. We seek to advance and to develop as a co-educational center, where there are no differences amongst genders. Here is some of the work our students have developed during our program.

Here is some of the work our students have developed during our program.

AUDIO-VISUALS MADE WITH THE STUDENTS (if you click over by pressing CTRL-click you access the video)

Header Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

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