First day was nerve wracking for me. I can’t help but stutter all the time I want to talk but everybody was nice. They understand that all of us may not have perfect English skills and language is not a barrier for us. We would always laugh at the end of the day and can’t wait for tomorrow’s event.
The whole seven days were challenging and tough. Our knowledge about gender, society, and English vocabulary are being tested. I found myself struggling to understand some words in English and finding the right words to explain my opinion. But it was worth it. I gained new knowledge from everybody else and I added more new English vocabulary to my lists. Talking about gender, I should say it wasn’t something easy to discuss. It is a sensitive topic after all. Despite that, the discussion went well and I should say it went pretty intense.
What I remember the most during the discussion was about the unemployment rate. During the pandemic, it was reported that in Indonesia a lot of companies see this as an opportunity to cut off some of the employees, especially women. As a result, the unemployment rate for women increased in the pandemic. This showed that gender inequality is still happening. Whether in Indonesia or other countries, gender inequality is still happening around us. In order to stop this, the solution we offered was a social media campaign and increased gender inequality awareness through education.
Social media campaigns can spread news all over the world instead of doing normal campaigns in domestic countries. The chance of getting known world wide is bigger through social media than the old ways such as broadcast through news, newspaper etc.
The United Nations estimated about 7.9 billion people live in the world according to the Worldometer in September 2021. About 65.1% of the world population are dominated by the age group of 15 to 64 years old. In conclusion, the world is dominated by the younger generation and millennials. Those two generations are closer to globalization which means they are more aware of the changes and more welcome with technologies.
In this case, it means using social media as the platform to spread awareness by making virtual campaigns such as posting twibbon on Instagram, etc. In order to get attention, it is important to use the right hashtags. By doing that, the chance of getting engaged with the audience is more likely to be high. Using hashtags will help us to engage the right audience. Targeting the right audience will help to spread the campaign widely. This is known as the snowball effect. One person shares the same interest with the others, this person will share the campaign with the other and so on.
Our target is to spread knowledge and awareness of what is called gender inequality. Sometimes we are not aware that what we are doing to others or treating others is called gender inequality. For example, microaggression. Microaggression is a term used for commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups.
A simple example of microaggression happening around us is an Asian-American woman being praised for speaking fluent English. Just because she’s Asian doesn’t mean she can’t speak fluent English. Turns out, English is her first language. Sometimes people are not aware, a small and simple compliment actually ends up as a microaggression. Marginalization is also included or categorized as microaggression. Then what is the solution to stop microaggression, stereotype, and marginalization in order to reduce gender inequality?
In this exchange program, we went through deep discussion for two days before the final presentation. We argued and collected ideas on how we should present what we had learned and also the solution we offered. At the beginning, we struggled about what kind of presentation we should deliver. However, in this exchange program between Japan and Indonesia, the participants are amazing. They are very creative, enthusiastic, and smart people that we finally came up with extraordinary ideas at the end.
For the presentation part, we decided to make a TikTok video for the self introduction and then proceed on role plays. After the role play, the presentation continues to the debate simulation and then the presentation ends with solutions. Two solutions we offered were social media campaigns and increased awareness through education. However, the solution we can do all together at the same time is the social media campaign. We upload a twibbon with our picture and then the caption will be talking about how we should increase awareness about gender inequality. Also, use the correct hashtag so that we are able to reach the targeted audience more clearly.
Through this exchange program, I learned a lot. Not just about gender inequality but also making me more aware of diversity. I learned how to approach people with different backgrounds and respect each other more. I am glad to be participating in this exchange program and very happy to join another one in the future.