In the first month of the Spring I’ve attended one Youth Exchange youth project, here in Palermo, that was suggested by my colleague. The theme of this project was about gender equality and it had gripped my attention. So I decided to participate in.

The first day I met on the venue of the event with other participants from Spain, Romania and Lithuania. We did some energizers to know each other and explore our ideas about the subject. That what grab my attention there was the fact that Lithuanian group had the most diverse ideas about the topic. In the second day we had a presentation about the topic and a round table discussion. The problems are generally the same, especially in Turkey and in Romania. The situation in Spain currently is a little bit better and the best situation it’s turn out is in Lithuania. The problems are generally about the fact that women are expected to stay at home and take care of the kids or to do the housework. They do not have the same opportunity with their male counterparts in the labour market and they do not get the same salary with the men.

They can fill important positions on the labour market, but again will not get the same salary. In Lithuania however the situation is quite different according to opinions of the Lithuanian participants. They especially mentioned during the round table at this course that they have a woman as a Prime-Minister of their country and the women have generally the superior position compared to men, both on the labour market and in home or social environment. However the girls said that the situation was comparably better, but again they face some problems.

In the following days we had an outdoor activity. We went to the University of Palermo and made interviews with different kind of people with different backgrounds about their opinions on the gender equality. I should tell that this was the most enjoyed activity we had in the project’s time span. We enjoyed talking to different people and learning their ideas, asking questions to them and doing little discussions with them. Every person had their own unique idea about the topic and we were surprised that some girls claimed that their situation was all better in Sicily. And some men fiercely supported woman’s rights. We were surprised because we expected to hear the same stereotypical answers – women support women, men support men, but it was vice versa After that day we did a social media work to submit our information.

We created Facebook and Twitter pages and used other social media tools. We used our videos and photos that we took on the following days to develop and diversify our pages. On the 7th day we went to a conference on gender equality’s devoted to the policies on the job place and job policy to the youth. We took there useful information and we had the chance to share the current status in our countries. On the last day we collected all the information we got from interviews, conference and brainstorming. We were given different tasks to do, for example my group was going to do a power point presentation. We all finished our tasks and did the presentation in the university in the farewell party.

All in all the project was a really informative and useful experience for me. I learned a lot about gender equality in different countries from the first hand from people who are from different countries. I also had good friendship with the people in the project. I am very happy to have attended the project and that I had the chance to know those people and form good friendships with them.

Ozkan Baytak, CEIPES’ EVS Volunteer