The Arab Institute for Women

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Women in Municipal Councils in Support of Local Development

For the third year in a row, the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World celebrated International Women’s Day in collaboration with the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) on March 8, 2016.

This year’s event focused on “Women in Municipal Councils in Support of Local Development”. The event started with a series of keynote speeches by IWSAW Board member, May El Khalil who spoke on behalf of LAU’s president Dr. Joseph Jabbra about women’s empowerment and the important role women can play in the political arena. Dr. Lina Abirafeh, IWSAW director, who in her speech talked about the history of International Women’s Day and the importance of prioritizing women’s/girls education as a part for gender equality. Lawyer Fadi Karam, General Secretary of NCLW who spoke about the role NCLW plays in empowering women, and Country Director of the United Nations Development Program, Luca Renda who highlighted in his talk the need to encourage more women to engage in the political arena in Lebanon. Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nouhad al-Mashnouq then took the stage and discussed the issue of quotas for women. His speech was interrupted by a student who vocally criticized the government for failing to criminalize sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence. 

A panel discussion followed the speeches. Journalist Claude Abou Nader Hindi moderated the panel hosting former Minister Wafa’ Dika Hamzeh; Boushra Itani, member of the Beirut Municipality Council; member of Parliament Ghassan Moukheiber, and Nada Anid, founding member of the ‘Women in Front’ organization. The panelists debated the urgent need for women’s participation in political life. 

More details about the event are found in this LAU News article.