Putting Scientific Research and Performing Arts Together : A Quest for Equality

Abstract: BackgroundGender inequality and violence are prevalent globally affecting women withdiscriminatory practices and victimizations. The oppressions majorly arise due tosystemic inequalities and power hierarchies. Interventions targeting to endinequality and violence are increasing and this thesis compares the outcomes ofparticipatory Forum Theater.AimThis thesis aimed to develop and test the efficacy of Forum Theater for promotinggender equality and reducing violence against women in the Morang district ofeastern Nepal.MethodThis thesis stands on the findings from epidemiological studies. Study I wasconducted with sex trafficking survivors using focus group discussion and theanalysis used a content analysis method. The baseline study (II) reached 2000samples in twenty randomly selected villages. Quantitative data collection used amethod of self-administered Color-Coded Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviews. A total of thirty Forum Theater, three times each over a year wereorganized in ten randomly selected intervention villages. Qualitative studies (III andIV) conducted between the interventions used six focus group discussions and thirtyindividual interviews. The evaluation study (V) reached 1210 samples in bothgroups. Quantitative analysis used descriptive and inferential statistical methods andqualitative analysis used constructivists grounded theory.ResultsStudy I find social stigma and lack of opportunities as major challenges for thereintegration of sex trafficking survivors. Study II identifies the prevalence of gender inequitable beliefs and violence influenced by norms, attitudes, and practices. StudyIII develops a theoretical model of power-play to exhibit nurturers of genderinequitable beliefs and resulting violence. Study IV finds Forum Theaterinterventions have increased the ability of audiences to negotiate for change. StudyV finds that intervention groups compared to the comparison groups havedeveloped more gender-equitable beliefs and stronger opinions on equality.ConclusionThe use of Forum Theater has motivated and increased the ability of participantsto develop opinions and negotiate for establishing equitable beliefs. Forum Theaterenables the inclusion of oppressed voices and provides a safer environment to endoppressions providing multiple solutions. This thesis informs academicians andpractitioners on the nuances of efforts required in establishing equality and reducingviolence. Further testing of Forum Theater is recommended

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