November 7 to 16, 2001
The Regional Women’s Program, “From Gender Sensitivity to Genuine Partnership: WSCF AP Journey” was held in Hong Kong’s Wu Kwai Sha Youth Village on November 7-16, 2001. There were altogether 13 participants from Asia-Pacific consisting of 6 male and 7 female participants. This gender balance that was needed for this workshop was achieved with a good understanding and support of the National Movements when it was relayed to them that a criteria for the appropriate selection of participants has to be followed.
A shelter for women migrant workers who have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused by their employers. The women shared their experiences and talked about how the employers and the employment agencies took advantage of their vulnerability as a migrant worker.
A centre for local women in poverty. The group experienced life of an ordinary local woman in Hong Kong sharing her concerns on the fast-changing pace of society and the excessive capitalistic way of privatization that seriously affect her living standard and quality of life.
A centre working for the sex-workers. The group experienced a challenging analysis and discussion on the sex-industry and the attitudes toward the sex-workers.
Tai O Village:
This exposure took the participants to the beautiful island of Tai O in Lantau Island. The participants met with Wong Wai King who single-handedly started many community projects as well as many campaigns and advocacy work against authorities who wanted to develop artificial constructions to the island hence destroying its natural eco-system. The word of wisdom given by Wai King was the importance of putting in the effort in the advocacy work even if it meant failures.
Two Bible Studies were conducted by Rose Wu and Hope Antone respectively. Rose discussed 2 women in the Bible, Hagar and Mary, relating them to the two exposure places of women migrant workers and sex-workers. Rose challenged the participants’ preconceived attitudes and ideas of the Bible by using the Hermeneutic mode of interpretation. Hope’s Bible Study focused on how and why women are portrayed in the Old Testament, and an attention given to the story of the creation of men and women—to try to glean God’s intentions for both beings. Subsequently, the New Testament was discussed on the discipleship of women and men, especially during Jesus’ time and the time of the early church and an analysis of the silencing and marginalization of women: the result of all this which we continue to bear today.
Professor Chan Lean Heng of the University Sains Penang took the participants to one full-day of Gender Analysis with lots of fun and participatory exercises. Lean Heng started with Gender Analysis in our own lived experience, followed by discussions on Gender Stereotyping and the Experience of Oppression. She demonstrated the meaning of the Multiple and Interconnectedness of Oppression and the introduction of the Gender Tree which taught the participants how to handle Oppression and the values/beliefs that influence and affect behaviours and attitudes of Oppression. Lastly, Lean Heng showed through a cartoon book, a Historical Study of Women’s Oppression.
The workshop culminated with the sessions that motivated the entire programme, Women & Men Partnership. The sessions were facilitated by Yong Ting-jin, former WSCF AP Regional Secretary. Ting-jin reviewed the history of regional programmes on Women and Men Partnership to involve the participants to describe and understand partnership in the context of WSCF/SCMs as well as to envision and determine the future of partnership in AP region. The plenary session was drawn on the participants to formulate their understanding and articulate their vision for partnership, address issues of partnership and determine agenda and programme; direction and journey for the future of genuine partnership.
Some of the plans that came from the participants are: