17 November 2023

ragazzi che hanno partecipato alla conferenza finale engaged

A two-day event in Florence to talk about gender, masculinity, stereotypes and violence. A conference to take stock of the activities and workshops carried out by dozens of boys and girls, the protagonists of the awareness-raising campaign for the cultural change needed to achieve gender equality. An event to look back at what has been achieved in the past months, but also to renew the commitment to involve young people in creating a better society. The Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence hosted the “European Mutual Learning Seminar and European Youth Forum”, the final European conference of the “Engaged in Equality” project, an international initiative aimed at involving young people to end gender-based violence. The conference was attended by the project's international partners, together with teachers and students involved in the activities and workshops carried out in recent months.

The “Engaged in Equality” Project

This is an innovative European project that aims at challenging traditional gender roles and hegemonic masculinity, in particular through the involvement of adolescent males, to end gender-based violence. The aim is to transform relationships based on unequal power between adolescent boys and girls by involving young people as allies in the fight against gender-based violence. The project involved five countries with the Istituto degli Innocenti for Italy, the SURT Foundation in Barcelona as coordinating body, the Association for Men's and Gender Issues in Styria for Austria, the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies for Cyprus and the Peace Institute for Slovenia. In order to achieve its objectives, training courses and seminars for teachers on the prevention of gender-based violence, awareness-raising and empowerment activities for adolescents, peer education workshops and an awareness-raising campaign were held.

As part of this initiative, the Istituto degli Innocenti also published a handbook entitled “Engaged in Equality - Challenging Masculinities and Engaging Adolescents to End Gender-Based Violence” with capacity-building modules for teachers and educators. The handbook addresses stereotypes that hinder gender equality through an innovative approach based on audio-visual media, music and capacity-building of professionals in educational contexts. It also includes practical guidelines that aim to expand and share knowledge and experiences in order to test the adoption of methods and have tools available for working with adolescents.

Final European Conference at the Istituto degli Innocenti

Children and teachers have experienced two intense days of work at the Istituto degli Innocenti. On 15 and 16 November, two simultaneous events took place: the European Mutual Learning Seminar and the European Youth Forum. The former involved the project partners and teachers whereas the latter was for the students, the real protagonists of “Engaged in Equality”. The conference opened on 15 November with an introduction by two experts working with adolescents on the central themes of the project (gender, masculinity and stereotypes): Christaime Ngoy and Ahmed Tobias Andrä from the European project Heroes. Afterwards, participants were divided into two groups. At the Youth Forum, the students worked on gender-based violence with Olivier Malcor and Claudia Signoretti through the Theatre of the Oppressed. Theatre can be a powerful artistic and educational tool to generate personal and social change. This is a methodology, created to deal with different forms of oppression, which was used extensively during the development of the project with both teachers and students.

Meanwhile, the European Mutual Learning Seminar focused on the topic of “challenging masculinity and involving adolescent boys in the prevention of gender-based violence” thanks to the contribution of Elli Scambor, director of the Institute for Research on Masculinity and Gender Studies in Austria. Her speech was followed by an interesting debate and presentation of the activities carried out in the schools of the participating countries. In the afternoon there were three working groups on some of the main issues addressed by the project:

  • How to use pop culture and music to address masculinity and gender-based violence;
  • How to deal with resistance and anti-feminist statements to gender education in schools;
  • How to foster girls' empowerment at school: methods and good practices.

On the second day, students presented during the plenary session some examples of the work done through the Theatre of the Oppressed. Finally, videos made by young people for the awareness-raising campaign were presented, some of which were made with the support and participation of actor Lorenzo Baglioni. This was a very important part of the project during which the students were able to use their creativity to produce a social campaign on gender equality and the prevention of gender-based violence, addressing their peers directly with their language, thus becoming promoters of social change.

Links to the videos of the awareness campaign prepared with Lorenzo Baglioni on the themes of:

Gender-based violence


Hegemonic masculinity

Gender identity

Sexual orientation

Last update: 01/24/2024 - 13:22