Break­ing down the gen­der bias

Friday - - Society -

One of the CWB’s found­ing prin­ci­ples for preven­tion is break­ing down the gen­der bias that ex­ists across com­mu­ni­ties. HIV/Aids suf­fer­ers are of­ten stig­ma­tised, par­tic­u­larly fe­males. As Andy says, “I was vis­it­ing a women’s res­cue shel­ter in a slum and they lit­er­ally had a wheel­bar­row out­side to pick up the women and girls who had been thrown out of their homes on to the streets by their hus­bands [af­ter they were di­ag­nosed].”

One of the foun­da­tion’s main aims, there­fore, is to em­power girls, achiev­ing this via the cre­ation of mixed-gen­der teams and tour­na­ments. Re­search and their ex­pe­ri­ence shows that this method pro­motes re­spect be­tween the two as boys be­gin to see their fe­male coun­ter­parts as cru­cial mem­bers of a win­ning team.

And it’s not just the gen­der stigma that is ad­dressed but the dis­crim­i­na­tion that of­ten ex­ists be­tween those who are suf­fer­ing and those who are not. Of­ten this gap is per­pet­u­ated through a myr­iad of myths about how the virus is passed on, such as the in­cor­rect as­sump­tion that it can be con­tracted through touch, tears, saliva or sweat. Con­se­quently many of the 22,200 chil­dren un­der the age of 15 liv­ing with HIV – largely passed on at birth from the mother or from con­tam­i­nated med­i­cal equip­ment – in Rwanda are of­ten out­cast, bul­lied, and shunned by so­ci­ety. The CWB tries

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