Couples’ Meeting: strategy to achieve gender equity and strengthen families in communities from the Mid-Juruá

With a sensitive and attentive look at gender issues, the Lago Serrado community has taken another step in combating structural sexism

By Thais Vieira Alves

“We understand that everything works well when the family is well,” says Fernanda Moraes, president of the Association of Residents of the Lower Mid-Juruá (AMAB). With this thought, the Couples’ Meeting took place on November 9, 2022, in the Lago Serrado community, in the lower Mid-Juruá region. The main objective of the event was the strengthening of couples, families, and the empowerment of women, which reflects, later, in the community and in the territory as a whole.

With 33 participants, the event brought together 14 couples, including leaders, partners and community. Fernanda reports that the idea at first was to hold a conversation group only with women and later a meeting with couples, but they realized the importance of the couples being the priority from the first moment.

“Sexism  is still very prevalent in our area and, because of this, the possibility of women not attending this meeting was very large, so we decided to bring the couple together so that both of them could not see how important participation at an event like this is and that, when they show up, they are in search of knowledge for the well-being of the family and the community”, reports Fernanda Moraes, president of AMAB.

Actions and campaigns such as this one, based on sensitive listening, lectures, and dynamics in communities, are paramount for the breaking of prejudices and the understanding that rights are equal and gender-independent. Men play a fundamental role in this struggle, which is collective and brings extensive benefits for the well-being of women and families. Fernanda expresses the enthusiasm of being a female community leader ahead of the event: “As a woman I see that we are taking a big step, I had never imagined myself president of an association that was until then commanded by men and not even thought that one day moments like these could happen in our communities”.

The event included several activities in the program, including a health team performing care such as: preventive tests, hepatitis C tests, glucose test, PCA test for men and a lecture on family planning and the health of men and women. In addition to the presence of a psychologist who lectured on the strengthening of family bonds and resolution of small conflicts. To end the evening, a dinner was offered for couples along with some dynamics.

Record of the event “Meeting of couples” held in the Lago Serrado community on November 9, 2022. Photo: Instituto Juruá Collection.

This event is in harmony with the global initiatives advocated by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with regard to SDG5 – Gender Equality – which aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. The pioneering of this initiative in the region is a great achievement.

It is worth noting that recently the results of the Diagnosis of Gender and Youth in the Mid-Juruá Value Chains was released,  which had as one of its main notes the fact that men are the ones who mainly lead the public, dialogical and decision-making spaces, while being reserved for women are  mainly, life and work in the private space of home. The diagnosis aimed, through the materialization of the scenario in research data, to highlight the importance of women in the success and maintenance of production chains in the region.

The couples’ meeting is, therefore, another step towards the appreciation of women’s work that contributes to family strengthening. “We want to show the importance of women in relationships and in everything we do, the family basis is something that needs special attention and this encourages us to continue, I see how much we still need to work for the male mind to become more open, more sensitive to these moments”, reflects Fernanda.

Several local organizations and partners collaborated for the execution of the event: Association of Agroextractive Residents of the Lower Mid-Juruá (AMAB), Association of Rural Producers of Carauari (ASPROC), Association of Agroextractive Women from the Mid-Juruá (ASMAMJ), Association of Agroextractive Residents from the Lower Mid-Juruá (AMAB), Instituto Juruá, Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio ), Secretary of State for the Environment (SEMA Amazonas), Institute of Agricultural Development and Sustainable Forestry of the State of Amazonas (IDAM), Carauari City Hall, Carauari Municipal Health Secretariat (SEMSA).

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