The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

Search This Blog

March 2, 2016

The Daily Star - Accomplished women talk about gender parity ,March 2,2016

Ghinwa Obeid| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Women are now at the forefront in many fields, but the breakthrough wasn’t easy and required perseverance, pioneering women said Tuesday as they highlighted some challenges that still need to be overcome for gender equality. Several leading women took to the stage during a panel of the Women on the Front Lines conference held by the May Chidiac Foundation at Phoenicia Hotel ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.
“Know that you are a woman, don’t be ashamed of being a woman, but go out to the labor force as a person and a human being and that helps a lot,” said Sausan Ghosheh, director of the United Nations Information Centre – MENA Region, when asked about how she made it to where she is today.
“Proving yourself over and over again, being serious about what you do, and making fun of all the stereotypes they impose on you ... you are a woman but you are also a human being with capacities,” explained Maha Yahya, senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center.
U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag, also in attendance, advised women to focus on three things: taking risks, being bold, and trusting one’s instinct.
Yamina Benguigui, acclaimed film director and former french minister responsible for the Francophonie, gave her take. “I am a director, I am of Algerian descent, born in France, I was the first woman of Maghrebi origins in France to become a filmmaker [in the ’80s].” She explained that many themes she wanted to work on at the start where refused. “I was always faced with one sentence ‘no, it is not possible.’ So I tell my team, when you’re faced with this sentence ‘no it is not possible,’ it means: move forward with it.”
“We can all make it,” said keynote speaker Ghada Gebara, where she talked about her impressive rise to become CEO of Optimum Telecom Algeria. “Others will see you based on how you see yourself.”
The panelists tackled a number of issues related to the status of women and their professional role. The representation of women in the political sphere also featured in many of the discussions.
In Lebanon, for example, women aren’t well represented in Parliament, Cabinet or even within the parties themselves.
There has been an ongoing fight to improve this for a number of years, which was addressed by the speakers. They touched on issues of how established political figures are not championing the cause of gender equality enough and in some cases even slowing the process.
This trend was heavily criticized by the panel. In a notable example of this, most Lebanese politicians who had attended the conference left shortly after the event’s opening ceremony and so didn’t witness the in-depth discussions.
Yahya explained that there were different options within the movement for more representation and how to achieve it. However, she highlighted two key areas in Lebanon she saw could make a difference: encouraging established parties to strive for gender parity and creating new parties and coalitions that include women in key positions.
“[We want new parties] That don’t say, ‘Actually it’s not time for women’s issues now, it’s not time to look at women’s rights, it’s not time to talk about the citizenship law, because there are so many important other things happening, there is a conflict in the region ... and therefore it is not time,’” she said. “It is time.”
Yahya told The Daily Star how women have spearheaded many of the recent anti-government civil protests in Lebanon. “Some of perhaps the most articulate voices calling for change were those of women,” she noted, but she underscored the importance of partnerships between men and women for real change.
Kaag highlighted how the upcoming municipal elections, scheduled for May, are a chance for more Lebanese women to enter the political sphere.
“Here is the chance to have a quota for women to go for national elections,” she said.
Kaag also explained that this fight even existed within the U.N. where there’s still a challenge for more representation of women. She said that there were several things needed to secure more representation, including more action from member states.
The attendees, additionally, agreed that women need to be more prominent in decision making within peace building contexts.
In conflict regions, women are still part of society and this consequently makes them part of the solution, the experts underscored.
“We know very well, look at studies ... when you make women part of the solution, things change drastically. If women are part of the peace making process there is a higher chance for the peace to last,” stressed Ghosheh.
When men and women are included together, there is diversification of the skill set, she added.
“The more diversified the skill set is, the smarter the group becomes. The smarter the group becomes the better decisions they make,” Ghosheh explained. “The better decisions made, the better the chances for peace to take place and a peace that can last.”
Copyrights 2016, The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved
Source&Link : The Daily Star

No comments:

Post a Comment