A Variety of Perspectives
Differences between the sexes and gender issues are still relevant today, both in terms of biology and in terms of social behaviour and cultural understandings. Looking carefully into the world of literature as well as talking to men and women on various continents, we clearly notice that people have different perspectives as well as disparate questions about these issues. The relations between people of both sexes, the way men and women deal and communicate with each other and the realities of every-day-life in different societies are diverse and are experienced in different ways. Therefore the questions that arise probably have to be answered in various ways in each situation.
A First Encounter
Our meetings took place in an open atmosphere. Everybody had the chance to contribute to the discussions and listen to each other’s perspectives. Nevertheless, it quickly became obvious how difficult it is to discuss these matters among men and women, even if both sides are open and generally well informed, because it remains extremely difficult to imagine how a situation might feel for someone of the opposite sex. Though we remained close to the surface of these issues, we certainly made a start. Questions were formulated that we will have to work on. At least we started work on a topic, which all too often remains under the surface but which nevertheless influences our relations and our work subconsciously.
Share your Point of View with us
The participants of the colloquium might have been changed by this work in one way or the other and some of the aspects that were talked about, might find a way into their schools. Nevertheless we strongly feel that this was only a beginning. We would like to share our thoughts and questions with other people. We would like to ask YOU out there in the world, how you experience and address these questions in your schools or institutions, in other countries, on other continents? Are there any pressing gender issues at your schools that you feel a need to deal with?
We ask this question in the hope that by exchanging our perceptions and learning from each other we might be able to widen our own horizons. This will hopefully add to a mutual understanding within Waldorf schools as a step towards a broader cultural change. Even if situations are very different, such an exchange might help us to find another perspective on our own questions.
“Entering a real dialogue” means that we need to talk with each other instead of talking about each other: men with women, the old with the young, north with south and east with west. It means finding a common language in which we can tell the other about ourselves and describe situations without judging them, in a language, which does not only know answers but likes to ask questions in order to find out what the other thinks, a language which respects differences and variations and which tells us about a world in which men as well as women live, grow up, create and take on responsibility together so that all our children will be able to grow up in peace and get the chance for a healthy development.