Hjálmar Sigmarsson

During my last term in the GEMMA program, I was hoping to find some opportunities that would utilize the knowledge and experiences from my time at the Central European University and the University of Granada. But luckily even before I actually started my search I heard about a very exciting position with an NGO in my home country Iceland. After going through the application and interview process I was offered the position, which I happily accepted.

In August 2014 I started work as a counselor for Stigamot, an Education and Counseling Center for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence. My responsibilities include providing counseling sessions for female and male survivors of sexual violence, improving services for male survivors of sexual violence and engaging men in combating violence against women through prevention education.

In this position I am able to apply my previous experience working on feminist and gender equality issues, which includes working on these topics within academia, grassroots organizations, governmental gender mechanisms and international organizations. In addition, my studies and time in the GEMMA program enable me to engage with challenges entailed in working with men on two fronts, applying amongst other things, feminist, intersectional and inclusive perspectives and approaches, merging the political, practical and theoretical.

More specifically, the qualitative study I conducted as part of my final thesis continues to inform my current work and provide useful insights, crucial for addressing the issues that Stigamot engages within its work. My thesis looks at the experiences of young feminist men in Iceland, and argues that they can provide insights and opportunities that can help change attitudes amongst men towards violence against women amongst other issues.

I am therefore very grateful for the experiences I had in the GEMMA program, which I have been able to able directly in my new position.