At Philia, we value meaningful exchanges of ideas as a way to enhance our perspectives and experiences in a trusted and safe environment where we can also achieve gender equality through open dialogue.
The new Philia Meetup format “Rooftop Conversations” was initiated through our Lisbon Chapter in Portugal. In order to foster a constructive and meaningful dialogue between genders, we have partnered with The Men Revolution (TMR), an organisation exploring new concepts of masculinity. Together with TMR we established an easy-to-follow format that allowed for an open dialogue between men and women, facilitating and mediating a conversation about topics that are usually hard to discuss: Gender roles in society and how to actively cultivate empowering conversations.
By giving each gender a voice in these topics, we provided individuals with the opportunity to be listened to and understood, sympathized or empathized with, and hopefully, as a result, feel equipped to face the realities of inequality. Through conversations, we are building relationships based on cooperation and genuine understanding, which ulteriorly prevents us from feeling isolated or disconnected in the world.
These conversations, as any events involving Philia, are welcoming and inclusive. Philia strongly encourages the cultivation of open spaces between genders where everyone is invited to express themselves and has the chance to share freely and resonate with others, which in turn brings out some amazing AHA moments – valuable insights everyone gains during the discussion.
Through the two pilot events, we have learned that there are many layers to what it means to let ‘men in’: letting them into our world at work, letting them into our society while including them in gender-sensitive conversations about women issues and letting them in as partners. At Philia we recognize the sensitivities around sharing spaces between the genders. To truly understand each other we need to learn each other’s languages and always have in mind that in order to achieve gender equality we need to engage in open dialogues.
Redefining some of the core concepts we operate within our modern world, when it comes to genders, is highly necessary if we want to contribute to the positive evolution of co-creative environments. This way, we were glad to know that The Men Revolution are working on a new concept of Masculinity. This is what Tim Daly, the co-founder of TMR, shared with us ‘‘Healthy or sacred masculinity in the 21st century is a book we are still writing. We have rejected the old competitive, oppressive, rigid, dominant, and essentially frightened machismo of our collective past. And in its place, we are creating a brotherhood, rooted in authenticity, integrity, balance, courage, co-operation, and growth. We honour our strength, but we use it to protect, rather than to oppress. Together, we are creating a path to becoming the kind of men we can be proud of being’.
As the dynamics between the genders are ever-changing, we want to emphasize the importance that both genders need support, feedback, and encouragement to reach out and learn from one another. We have once again confirmed that gender equality can be achieved through an open dialogue that goes beyond gender-specific stereotypes that influence our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with.
We at Philia share the vision of a world in which consent and empowerment are the foundation of any mutually respectful relationship, be it a stranger, a work colleague, a friend, family, or significant other. “Rooftop Conversations” has taught us that when we engage in a conversation with the opposite gender, we must remember that even though we are different, we are still equal, and should treat someone with the same respect as someone from our own gender. This means making sure that there is full consent from all engaged parties on each step of the way. Once we understand this, the open dialogue happens and gender equality becomes our real experience.
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