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Activity 2: The Caucus
Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
Preparation for Activity
- Read the story and copy for all participants.
Description of Activity
Introduce the activity using these or similar words:
One way women began to find their voices was by caucusing with other women. Often called "consciousness-raising" groups, these meetings were a chance for women to discuss their experiences of living in a world where gender-based oppression was a fact of daily life. For many, this was the first time they were able to freely discuss the details of their own stories in a safe space.
Invite participants to form groups of three, maintaining as much gender diversity in each group as possible. Distribute the story and invite participants to read it. Then ask participants to share in their small groups, responding to this question and ensuring that each person has a chance to speak:
- Have you ever participated in a single-gender affinity group? What impact did or does the experience have on your life?
Allow ten minutes. Then, re-gather the large group.
Point out that the description of the caucus ends with this statement:
Meetings are often ended with singing. If discussion becomes intense, singing offers a way to release tensions and bring the group together.
Invite comments, observations, and responses about the role of song in both the women's caucus groups of the 1960s and '70s and in contemporary, gender-based small groups.