>Gender & Identity Lab

>Ooops, I have not written for so long and my apologies.  Many stories are waiting to be told and muh sharing is waiting at the doorstep.  I have been busy with very little breaks in between to give the right amount of focus and attention to the blog.  My apologies 😦
But I do want to share with you an interesting program that I and some of my colleagues will be facilitating in Bangalore next month.  It is called Gender and Identity.  The idea is to explore how we are influenced by our ideas of who we are and a very significant portion of “who am I” is coded in  our ideas of the kind of Man or Woman that we believe we are or we wish to be.
I am giving below an excerpt from the brochure to give you some details of what will be explored in this program.  Do write to me if you are interested to attend or simply with your comments about what do you think about the idea.

The Program
What does being a man or woman mean to us?
The meanings that we give to being a man or a woman are extremely significant in how we look at ourselves, and how we perceive and relate with others in the world.
Traditionally, the meanings given to gender were predominantly defined by the social roles associated with them. However, advancements in technology have influenced the social fabric in such a way that it has considerably reduced the need for gender to be a significant determinant of these roles. The polarities here are traditional values and socio-technical parameters.
In other words, our social identity is becoming increasingly gender neutral. This brings in a welcome relief from the traditional stereotypes of gender roles. It is therefore not surprising that many people today feel more comfortable being a ‘person’ rather than being a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’. However, since this transition is not seamless, people also find themselves struggling with values that have been inherited and new ones that are being created in the changing world around them.
This creates considerable confusion in our personal, work and community spaces about a very basic question:
What does being a “man” or a “woman” really mean to us and it’s impact on our role taking processes?
This question is especially relevant when we hold gender stereotypes within and yet function from a platform of gender neutrality, which seems to have become the new norm.
The answers perhaps lie in looking at how we derive the meanings we give to our gender.
The Concept feminine and masculine
In our understanding this meaning making is derived from three significant sources: –
a) our personal history, particularly in respect to our encounters with significant others, i.e. family members, close relationships both in personal as well as work/secondary spaces;
b) our socio-cultural symbols associated with masculinity and femininity through direct experience and through the world of myths, folktales and folklore, language, history, media, politics and literature; and

c) our bio existential associations with our gender.

In our opinion, femininity and masculinity are abstract concepts, not the qualities, traits or energies of biological men and women. The principles of femininity and masculinity are configured in our psyche through various symbols and are held uniquely by each of us. These symbols, through their unique configuration in each individual offer their share of myths, perceptions, dilemmas and confusions. These, then, shape our day-to-day role taking processes in our personal and work spaces.

In this context, this program will provide the participants an opportunity to explore:
The individualized, unique meanings of our gender roles and images of our selves and our bodies.
The ways in which we relate to significant others in our relationships; the meanings and rules we develop around these relationships – in personal and in workspaces.
Our internal values frames about morality, sexuality, intimacy, etc
Residues of aggression, guilt, joy, shame, etc and their impact on codes of expression,
evocation and inhibition.
And, the opportunity of creating a new perspective and a new anchorage in our gendered identity. This then may lead to new frames about the human context in personal as well as work/group/community spaces.

For Whom
This program is meant for people interested in exploring these issues; and may be particularly relevant for men and women who are working as Change Agents, Institution Builders and Leaders in the field of Management, Art and Social Services, especially in the area of Gender Diversity.
If you wish to know more, please visit www.sumedhas.org or contact me at sarbari.gomes@gmail.com. 
Do let me know what you think of the idea.

I live in Bangalore, India, and by profession, I am CEO of a consulting organization, an Organization Consultant and an Executive Coach. I write because I like writing my thoughts and reflections for me to review my life and the life as I see around myself. However, sometimes it makes sense to convey my thoughts to others and connect with others. Maybe it strikes a chord; may be it does not. My life has been my most outstanding teacher, which is why I like sharing my experiences, memories, encounters and other narratives that I build as I go along. I am interested in people, society, culture, ways of life, individual and collective narratives/stories as they lead us to discover each other as nothing else does. I also write about coaching, people's lives, culture, stories, mothering my daughter, believing in a feminine way of life, and most of all, believe that all politics starts from the self and personal convictions

7 thoughts on “>Gender & Identity Lab

  1. >I am particularly interested in how this program goes with regard to change agents, Sarbari. My area of focus is gender (nature, but mostly nurture/socialization) in connection with sustainable business/organizations. What are the traits/characteristics that drive a person's engagement with sustainability? It's a fascinating question and I am definitely noticing that more women AND men are open to discussing it.


  2. >@Andrea: thank you for your comment. If you have had some experience of personal growth kind of work, why don't you come and join us in this lab? Some of your questions can be explored here.


  3. >Missed you both here and in my blog comments!The lab sounds very interesting but I won't be able to participate. However if there is some site where you will be posting the proceedings or the results and conclusions.


  4. >Hi pooja: thanks for your note. will come back soon. Have not been able to write in the last three months. all's well otherwise. I also miss you all and this space and your blogs. i should be back by middle of feb 2011 for sure. thanks once again.


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