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The “Ana el-Hekkeya” (I am the Story) project based at Pathways Middle East selected 20 trainees with varied backgrounds in journalism, short story writing, literary criticism and others, to be trained on gender issues.

The three-day training was held on 27-29 December 2009 and introduced a critical approach to women’s representations in popular culture. It provided the trainees with the theoretical and technical tools to deconstruct the stereotypical images of women and to reconstruct more positive ones. In addition it shed light on the effects of these stereotypes on women’s lives through writing stories that trace both empowering and disempowering experiences from participant’s own lives. The workshop used qualitative research and case studies from Pathways projects in Egypt as material for creating new stories about women.

As a result of the workshop, 24 stories have been written from a gender sensitive perspective. These will be used either as part of a storytelling performance or will be published in other formats. A facebook group has been established for the participants to update each other on their subsequent writing. Mona Ibrahim Ali, the coordinator of the workshop, will be conducting a similar training for Pathways West Africa in Accra in August 2010. 

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