Between Their Stories and Our Realities -- Table of Contents


A Manual for Seminars and Workshops on




Developed by
Gloria Schuster, Ivana Martinez, Julie Madore


This Manual is an integral part of the Dramatic Video Series


Eight Short Films on CEDAW's Articles for
Women, Men, Youth and Children
To Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of CEDAW



The Video Series and Manuals Produced By:

The People's Decade of Human Rights Education (PDHRE), A World Movement

With the Support of:

The Vienna Institute for Development and Cooperation, and
The Austrian Foreign Ministry Department for Development Cooperation

Available in English, French, and Spanish.

The Video Series and Manual are the result of a solidarity effort by human rights educators and filmmakers in Africa, Latin America, and the US. These include: Susana Chiarotti, the staff of the Instituto de Genero, Derecho Y Desarrollo, and Lucrecia Mastrangelo, filmmaker, Rosario Argentina; Fatma Alloo, Zanzibar, Tanzania; Molly Meltchen de Tostan and Ousman Sembene, filmmaker, Senegal; Jay Palit, filmmaker, Tara Krause and Shulamith Koenig, PDHRE, USA.

Published by PDHRE, 526 W. 111th Street, Suite 4E, New York, NY 10025, USA.

Tel: (212)749-3156, Fax: (212)666-6325, E-mail:, Website:  


Table of Contents

The Concept of Human Rights Learning

How is this Manual Organized

I. Introduction by Susana Chiarotti

II. Overview of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

III. Training Units

Chapter 1: Another Look
Chapter 2: Daily Life
Chapter 3: Five Pesos
Chapter 4: Safari - The Journey
Chapter 5: Yaliyo: The Way it is
Chapter 6: Daily Heroism
Chapter 7: Women Hold Up the Sky
Chapter 8: Fire Code

Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B:
- CEDAW - Summary
- CEDAW - Full Text
- General Recommendations of the CEDAW Committee, Nos. 14, 15, 19, 21
- Signatories to CEDAW

Appendix C: Workshop Evaluation Form

Appendix D:
Optional Protocol - What's in it?
Optional Protocol - Official Text



The Concept of Human Rights Learning

This guide is designed to accompany eight videos illustrating different types of discrimination and human rights violations against women around the world. The idea is to facilitate a process of learning about human rights and CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and to facilitate discussion of it at all levels of society.

The proposed training manual aims to further the goals of the Decade of Human Rights Education, 1994-2004, proclaimed by the United Nations. It seeks to introduce training in human rights from a gender perspective and to facilitate the dissemination of the Women's Convention throughout civil society.

It is an educational tool intended to generate significant learning.

We believe that meaningful understanding of human rights can be built through the sharing of peoples experiences. By drawing on personal narratives, it is possible to develop new attitudes and respect for others, and to construct an effective system to protect the human rights of all women, men, youth and children alike.

Why Women's and Girls' Human Rights?

Women and girls, besides suffering racial, economic, and other forms of discrimination like men, experience specific forms of discrimination and human rights violations just because they are women. Inequality at different levels and in all walks of life affects women and girls all over the world. For example:

  • Of the 1.3 billion poor people in the world, approximately 70% are women.
  • Between 75 and 80% of the 27 million refugees in the world are women and children.
  • Women hold only 10.5% of the seats in the world's parliaments.
  • Two-thirds of the world's 1 billion illiterate adults are women.
  • Girls make up two-thirds of the 130 million children who don't attend school.
  • On average, women make only 75% of men's wages for the same work.
  • In most countries, women do twice as much unpaid work as men.
  • Women living in rural areas produce 55% of all the food produced in "developing" countries.
  • Globally, the value of the unpaid work done by women in their communities and homes equals between 10 and 35% of gross national products. This equaled an estimated 11 trillion dollars in 1993.
  • Every year 585,000 women (more than 1,600 per day) die of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Every year approximately 20 million abortions are performed under dangerous conditions, and 70,000 women die as a result.
  • Every year more than 15 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 become mothers.
  • Every year 2 million girls are subjected to female genital mutilation.
  • In the world, between 20 and 50% of women experience some form of domestic violence during their marriage.
  • The main victims of armed conflicts are women and children.

(Selected from various sources published by the United Nations, December 1996.)

To Whom is This Manual Dedicated?

It is dedicated to people, groups, non-governmental and governmental organizations that:

  • Develop strategies to increase sensitivity to and build capacity to address different types of discrimination suffered by women and girls; and
  • Are interested in reflecting profoundly, personally, and communally on discrimination and human rights violations against women.

This is not a manual by and for women and girls only. Changing relationships of injustice is a responsibility that should be shared by all members of our societies.

This training manual is designed to guide the process of learning about and discussing women's human rights. It accompanies a series of eight dramatic videos entitled Women Hold Up the Sky. Together these resources seek to illustrate and give life to the Women's Convention (CEDAW), and to demonstrate that human rights are universal and indivisible.

  • Universal because they can be claimed in any part of the world by any individual or group;
  • Indivisible because none of the rights can be enjoyed in isolation, separated from other rights. This implies a holistic vision of human rights. No woman will be able to enjoy a life free of discrimination based on her sex, for example, if she is barred from enjoying other human rights, like access to basic resources, health care, food, education, work, or housing.

What is Our Methodology?

We understand that human rights violations take place within particular geographical and historical contexts and histories. The manual and videos aim to provide food for thought, and to help us analyze our diverse realities to find new solutions to our problems.

This is not a recipe, then, but a guide. The manual and videos can serve as resources that groups can adapt to their own interests and needs. The videos and manual provide a glimpse of the experiences of other women. Along with the Women's Convention, they may be used to promote reflection and debate. It will be necessary for workshop coordinators to adapt the manual to each group of participants, relating it to their local experiences, knowledge, capacities and limitations, opinions and emotions. Without grounding these materials in shared experiences, neither the videos or manual, nor the Women's Convention itself, will achieve its objective -- sensitization and capacitation for empowerment.

We believe that all learning processes should be based on the interaction between new things learned and knowledge that people already possess. Hence, true learning is "significant." The term "significant" does not mean that material is merely interesting, but that a person is able to make connections between what she or he already knows and what she or he is learning. Significant learning involves revision, modification and enrichment, and the establishment of new connections and relations. Learning is functional when someone can use it effectively and concretely to solve a problem.

We propose the use of participatory workshops as a method of training. The workshop is a place where participation and learning come together. It provides a way to overcome the separation between theory and practice.

In a workshop, coordinators and participants take part in a new style of learning. It opens doors toward self-learning, decision-making, and the development of creative potential by combining individual and group work. The workshops should permit thinking, expression, writing, reading, imagination and invention, proposals and experimentation, to facilitate people's participation in a personal way, giving what is learned a real significance.

Finally, we would like this training guide and the videos to be analyzed, discussed, criticized and enriched with the contributions of people who, like us, seek to combine knowledge of human rights with efforts to create more equitable relationships between women and men.

The Authors

Rosario, January 1999


How is the Manual Organized?

This manual includes the following parts:

I. Introduction

II. Overview of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, or Women's Convention)

III. Training Units

Chapter 1 -- to accompany the video Another Look, filmed in Rosario, Argentina. It relates primarily to with Article 14 of CEDAW, setting out the human rights specific to rural women.

Chapter 2 -- to accompany the video Daily Life, filmed in Rosario, Argentina. It addresses mainly with Articles 11 and 12 of CEDAW, guaranteeing women access to employment opportunities and health care.

Chapter 3 -- to accompany the video Five Pesos, filmed in Rosario, Argentina. It deals mainly with Articles 5 and 10 of CEDAW, which relate to social and cultural customs and education.

Chapter 4 -- to accompany the video Safari -- The Journey, filmed in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It mainly relates to Articles 6 and 9 of CEDAW, which address sexual trafficking, prostitution, and the right to a nationality.

Chapter 5 -- to accompany the video Yaliyo -- The Way It Is, filmed in Tanzania. It addresses Article 16 of CEDAW, dealing with equality within marriage and in the family.

Chapter 6 -- to accompany the video Daily Heroism, filmed in Senegal. It is related to Articles 7 and 8 of CEDAW, which guarantee women's right to political participation.

Chapter 7 -- to accompany the video Women Hold Up the Sky, filmed in New York, USA. It relates to Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, and 13 of CEDAW, covering general discrimination and economic human rights.

Chapter 8 -- to accompany the video Fire Code, filmed in New York, USA. It relates to Article 15 of CEDAW, which guarantees women full equality before the law.

Appendix A -- Glossary: definitions of concepts and specific terminology necessary to gain a full understanding of the materials.

Appendix B -- A summary and the full text of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; General Recommendations of the CEDAW Committee; and a list of the countries that have ratified the treaty.

Appendix C -- Workshop evaluation form.

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