A matriarchal island and plenty of history_s

Workshop in Tallinn / Estonia, April 2022

Adult educators from the six participating organisations came together for a five-day workshop and tried out various methods to make “women’s perspectives on society’s divisions” a subject of adult learning. A prominent issue of power relations between gender was mentioned again and again: women experience that their activities and perceptions are made invisible. In addition to examples of discrimination, see the unequal pay (gender pay gap), this is a classic when it comes to gender justice.

Consequently, it is a concern to encourage women (emPOWER) to create visibility: among other things by writing their own stories (storytelling) and by having their own views on the history of the country in which each lives. The participants applied and experienced methods like “Stella’s story”, “Living statue”, World Café, Automatic writing, taking photos, filming and making interviews , “A step forward”, and more.

Part of the workshop was an excursion to the small island of Kihnu. The colleagues were able to experience what a “matriarchal sociotope” in 21st century Europe could be about. They spoke with the inhabitants. The characterisation “matriarchal” may be based on the fact that women used to take on priestly tasks, i.e. positions of power, when the men were away at sea between spring and late autumn and the traditional, gender-specific division of labour was organised differently. The inhabitants themselves spoke of “matrifocal”. This would be closer to reality and the more peaceful way. “Matriarchal” would be analogous to “patriarchal” in that it would mean wanting to exercise dominance oneself.