Academic Day 2 – Gender

by Katja Blöchlinger

On Wednesday the IstKon crowd had time to take a deep dive into the topic of gender. After a short walk over the Swiss border to the location, everyone was handed out green and red cards. The Academic Team prepared a selection of quotes from all over the world and the audience then could state their opinion whether the quote was sexist or not. This exercise already showed some different perceptions and served to get a feeling regarding the points of views present in the IstKon group.

The group then split to two smaller groups, as two workshops were planned. One of them was organized by the Gender Equality Department of the University Konstanz. Its goal was to evaluate how gender norms are constructed and Marion Woelki and Lana Daudrich, the invited experts elaborated on the situation in Germany and in research specifically. They started off their workshop by asking how much the participants felt their gender affected their daily life. As was to be expected, the female IstKoners in general had a feeling that their gender was an important factor in their life, while the males felt rather indifferent. This sparked some interesting discussions and people shared their personal experiences.

Additionally the group was assigned to prepare posters, showing the ideal German woman / man as well as the ideal Turkish woman / man – one with a focus on what the respective society expects and another focusing on what the students themselves would term ideal. Especially in the case of the women, the differences were striking.

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The other workshop had been prepared by the Academic Team. It examined legalities, cases and activism in Turkey as well as in Germany. The participants learned about the some laws which are based on old-fashioned gender norms in both countries and controversially discussed actual cases. For example, the “no means no” activist activities were discussed and the right- or unrighteousness of forbidding the Pride Parade in Istanbul in a previous year. 

While maybe not everyone was on the exactly same page on all of the discussed matters, all of the participants took away big learnings on the topic of gender and its effects in daily life.

In the evening, after the intensive academic efforts, the Culture Team prepared a movie night at Zebra Kino. They chose to show the movie Wall-E, as it has a deeper message which the audience then philosophically approached in a discussion after the movie. One question was, if in the future people and robots could fall in love and another lead to discussions about the broader topic of capitalism and the destruction of the environment. The movie night clearly showed that also children’s movies can have an exceptionally deep meaning and are worth a Netflix session for adults, too.

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