Mapping has formed an integral part of the blog-writing process thus far and now, at this later stage of the process, is a particularly important exercise as it allows for collaboration with others. The collaborative process is useful for gleaning new perspectives on an issue as it can offer contrasting viewpoints that hadn’t previously been considered as well as supporting arguments that identify the problem in the same frame of mind but from a different angle. In this particular example, I found the collaborative mapping exercise allowed me to see a different area of the broader issue of gender equality that was a refreshing shift away from my more specific focus.
Along with the advantages of working in a group, I also found the actual activity of mapping to be particularly beneficial as it provided an opportunity to visually view the various connections of stakeholders and perspectives within the issue as a whole, something that tends to get lost when focussing on a specific aspect of the issue. Mapping the ideas of each person within the group builds a strong picture of the broader issue and offers context for the particular areas that I have been looking at personally as well as a sense of scale and where various facets of gender equality sit in relation to each other.
This particular exercise in collaboration and visual mapping was evidence that it is sometimes important to step back and look at the issue, whatever it may be, from a big picture perspective and that sometimes the best way to further develop your own personal perspective can often be listening to someone else’s ideas. From the maps that were generated, I was able to draw out some key ideas that may provide a foundation in looking at the potential for action to create change. It is clear that any future action taken to shift the current imbalance must address the obvious disconnect between the attitudes of men and women regarding the issue as there are recurring themes of injustice and entitlement amongst many of the terms and phrases recorded in the third map.