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Improving Gender Equality

  Cameron T. Jones, Naumilda Como, Megan Shannon Belval, Conrad M Ruiz

Violence against women is a pressing issue in the Broadmeadows community. The main social determinants of violence against women are rigid gender roles and stereotypes, unequal gender relations, and violence-supportive attitudes. These determinants predict higher rates of violence against women. Our project goal was to create resources as a community training tool to expand the Good People Act Now project, supported by Banksia Gardens. Community insight, obtained through observing students and interviewing teachers and Banksia staff, was used to develop training materials. Deliverables included a program for year one students on gender equality and respectful relations, and a training program on violence against women and bystander action for secondary students.

  Gabriella M. Cerbo, Shawna A. Winters, Aaron D. Krueger, Lindsay A. Ambrosino

The wastewater sector in the Western Balkans is a historically male-dominated industry, particularly in technical and management roles. Challenges to women’s participation include hiring bias, pay gaps, and a lack of role models, among other obstacles. In collaboration with the Water Supply and Sewerage Association of Albania (SHUKALB), we conducted 21 interviews with wastewater treatment professionals in the Western Balkans and the US to catalyze interest in a professional network to provide support and mentorship for women in the Western Balkan wastewater sector. We launched the network with an international discussion forum and by creating in-depth profiles of women leaders in the sector.

  Aline Natalie Tomasian, Logan Visser, Emily Adams McLean, Lea M Strangio

South Africa has an established wine industry, with European settlers planting the first wine farms in the late 1600s. Blacks and women have been intimately involved in the success of the industry as farm laborers, but until recently neither group has owned a wine production company in South Africa. Women in Wine is South Africa’s first Black women-owned wine company. Following ten years of growth and success, Women in Wine is seeking new opportunities for expansion. Using a mixed-methods approach, this project explored how Women in Wine is positioned in both the domestic and US markets and indicated three main directions that it could take.

  Brendan Leonard Kling, Emily P. Richardson, Marguerite Marie Carey, Jennifer Rene Bombard

The digital divide in access to and understanding of computers is an issue for developing communities worldwide, especially for adult women. We worked with members of Sizakuyenza’s Women’s Networking Group to address this divide in the township of Philippi, Cape Town. Our team created an asset map of technology access points in local communities and facilitated a pilot technology training program. We developed a plan to continue this program by composing a proposal to obtain funds to fully establish it.

  Kevin Christopher Bimonte, Ryan Eastwood, Timothy J Fromme, Jacob James Pardue

Our project worked with the María Amor Foundation in Cuenca, Ecuador to build a self-sustaining curriculum to teach digital literacy for women who are escaping domestic violence. To properly tailor our curriculum and gauge interest, we interviewed and surveyed the future participants and talked to senior employees. We learned that it needed to be as engaging as possible and start very basic as some participants had never used a computer before. The project resulted in the creation of nine independent bilingual modules designed for future workshops.

The Xhubleta: a Woman’s Perspective

Advisors: Robert Hersh, Leslie Lynn Dodson

  Garth Matthew Hull, Erin Michelle Conneilly, Tina Anahid Barsoumian, Edward Tarleton Krawczyk

The goal of our project was to understand and document the changing experience of women in northern Albania over the past century, using a traditional costume, the xhubleta, as a lens to see into their lives. Women no longer wear the xhubleta in everyday life, but it is still an important cultural artifact worn on special events and passed down matrilineally. We interviewed elderly women in rural areas with personal ties to the xhubleta to give voice to their stories. We found contradictions surrounding the various cultural meanings assigned to the dress, with women’s subjugation under patriarchal customs co-existing with women’s pride in wearing it.