Hivos Middle East & North Africa

Middle East & North Africa

Women Empowered For Leadership

Politics has a bad reputation in Lebanon. But one Hivos partner is working to encourage women’s political participation by addressing political apathy and disinterest in young people.

One of the key challenges in working with political parties on gender equality and women’s political participation is dealing with backlash from defensive male party members who feel that their power is threatened.

The Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) organized a two day leadership retreat in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe as part of Hivos’ Women Empowered for Leadership (WE4L) programme. The meeting brought together female leaders in fulfillment of earlier commitments to contribute to a mentoring programme for aspiring women leaders in business and politics.  At the retreat, women leaders shared their experiences in leadership particulalrly the challenges they overcame to become influential leaders.

Man to woman the evening of March 8: “Your day is over, time to go back to the kitchen”. *laughter*

It’s easy to assume that this type of sexist humour just comes out of typical male cafés in Lebanon.

But this joke was used by seasoned Lebanese television host Marcel Ghanem in a tweet to open his weekly political show ‘Kalam Ennas’ - one of the most-watched political talk shows on mainstream Lebanese  television - during the week of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017!

Overcoming poor representation and gender stereotypes

Hivos WE4L Lebanon Partner Maharat Foundation’s report following its gendered-based election media monitoring in the May 2016 Lebanese municipal elections shows how women political opinion-makers and leaders continue to be weakly represented in the Lebanese audio-visual media.

 

“There is no abstract mass of Lebanese citizens; there are Lebanese male citizens and Lebanese female citizens.” - May Mikdashi, “A Legal Guide to being a Lebanese Woman

The 31st of October was not a particularly good day for Lebanese women. An overhead visual of the Lebanese parliament reminded us of the stark reality that we have only 4 women MPs, that’s 3 % of the total number of MPs, one of the lowest percentages in the world.