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Shemakes community gathering: co-creating a gender vision

Goals of the get-together

Within the Shemakes project we are trying to formulate the common perspective on women innovators and the gender gap, and to come up with guidelines for the labs to become an enabling environment for women. We do that by:

  • Co-creating a safe space for the conversation to happen openly and identifying the shared vision/point of view of our community towards bridging the gender gap.
  • Making things explicit that are often implicit.


  • Post-its
  • Flip paper chart or big paper sheets
  • Pens & markers
  • Photograph camera for documentation
  • Tape or rope to mark the floor


We reccomend at least 2 people to run the activity, in groups with more than 10 participants, a third person might be needed. * Facilitator/ Moderator * Observer: Someone taking notes, writng down the interesting quotes and also keeping track of the results of the exercise (where did people positioned themselves) * Documenting the process: pictures & videos (don't forget to have the consent forms signed)


  • Drinks & snacks
  • Projector or Screen for the presentation (to be adapted)
  • Print outs
  • Prep room (chairs, table…)


  1. Welcome (15 min)
  2. Shemakes Intro (15 min)
  3. Star Exercise (45 min)
  4. Conclusion and Reflections (30 min)

1 - Welcome (15 min)

Why did you want to join? What attracts you to this discussion? Understand the participants motivations to be there is an inital conversation and helps setting the mood for the session to come.

Option 1: Write on post-it (or post-its), we glue them all together creating a word cloud, each one briefly explains their post-its before glueing on the board.

Option 2: Use a digital tool to create the word cloud. (This option is better with a bigger audience and/or to optimize time. One example of interactive live survey providers : menitmeter)

Conversation guidelines

When you are talking about a personal experience, take out names, try to focus on: * No names, no personalization, no judgement, no rights or wrongs * The concrete, abstract or in between the lines action that empowered you or hindered you * The context (familiar/unfamiliar/new/comfortable) * Your feeling - not the one of someone else, or why they might or not * Situations that happens/happened during training/learning, working context, personal life, in public/social settings

2 - Shemakes intro (15 min)

Shemakes introduction & goal Empowering future female innovators of the sustainable fashion industry through inspiration, skills and networks. Within the shemakes project we use a three-pronged approach to reach our goals. We provide innovative learning paths for girls and women of various ages, concrete business support and connections, and inspiring stories of female role models.

The gender “question/ situation” Women in the textile and clothing industry are currently most represented in the lowest-paying jobs; their positions are affected by systemic gender constructs while their natural and acquired skills are assigned low value in traditional business structures.

Goal of the day We aim to create a space for people to feel comfortable in sharing their own experiences and perspectives, understand and learn from different point of views and, together, think of possible solutions to the situation.

3- Star Exercise - (45 min)

PREPARATION GUIDELINES: with a tape (or cords), draw the following shape on the floor.


This exercise is an adaptation of the Four Quadrants methodology by Waag, you can find more instructions about it here

The center can just be a square, circle, pentagon, doesn't really matter, whatever your skills allows you to create!

For each round of questions, you position the answers in one of the spaces and ask people to position themselves. For the next question, you change the papers in the floor with the new ansers. The questions can be read out loud or shown in a presentation projected or tv/big screen.

PAROS Workshop done at the Fabrigathering at Aegean Idea Lab in Paros - Greece, August 2021

To your participants To start this conversion and dive into the topic, we formulated 5 "sort of" controversial questions that we will each answer by hopping into one of the 5 areas of this star.

At each round you will find a question and set of answers to choose from, don't worry, if none of the answers feels good, choose “other” and add your answer on a post-it. You can also choose to be half-half, one leg in each space, (or even divide yourself in 3...)

A - Which statement do you identify the most with?

  1. I have my own money to afford my own stuff
  2. I feel free to use my body the way I want
  3. Competition and collaboration should be equally valued
  4. I feel free to walk on the street without fear

Other / ALL

B - How much do you think gender is a social construction vs biological influence?

  1. 100% x 0%
  2. 75% x 25%
  3. 50% x 50%
  4. 25% x 75%
  5. 0% x 100%

Other / ALL

C - What do you find the most important & valuable topic in the gender discussion?

  1. equal payment
  2. more women in leading positions
  3. revalue of the type of work usually performed by women
  4. different way of working culture / specific working environment

Other / ALL

D - Do you feel more judged by:

  1. your appearance
  2. your cv
  3. your skills and knowledge
  4. your personality

Other / ALL

E - When do you feel most supported as a woman?

  1. around other women or when i am not alone
  2. when i can exchange ideas on this topic freely (without feeling judged)
  3. when the topic is discussed at many levels (political, arts, communities.. etc)
  4. when listened to / taken seriously

Other / ALL

5-10 min break

4- Conclusions & Reflections - (30 min)

A - Split the group in small groups (pairs or trios) - 10 min

Based on the discussing topics raised, think about the moments/experiences when you felt supported / hindered in your work? You can start from something that happened and extract (moment/story). What was the effect on you? What did the situation show / teach you? Did you adapt your behaviour?

Out of this conversation with your pair, try to summarize in post-its the following characteristics that made you feel supported or hindered.

B - Bring everyone together - Each group presents their criteria and the alternative or reframe - 20 min

Have a flipchart split in two parts (supported / hindered), place all the post-its together and try to cluster by subject/theme

"I feel valued/ supported/ enabled when: ...another human is truly interested in understanding/explore certain ideas/topics/vision that i put forward/strive for

How could we strengthen / support that feeling further?

"I feel hindered when: ...a moment where i felt belittled, not treated like a professional ...the culture/context around influences my reaction

What could be a factor that would have changed this into actionable/positive?

Results can be collected on a online tool to be shared with the group like this Miro board UPDATE LINK/BOARD

Last update: August 3, 2022