November 2020 Updates
November is a critical month for activists because every year we conduct a worldwide campaign called the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women. This campaign starts on 25 November - International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women - and ends on 10 December - International Human Rights Day. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence against women has - and serves to remind us all that EVERY day we should commit to individual and collective action to end this abuse!
November also brings the launch of our annual art competition with our partner, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. We’ll be announcing the winners on December 10, 2020 – check out the winners of previous years on our YouTube channel – they are amazing and inspiring!
To end violence against women, we need to engage men and boys. Everyone has a role to play in making this world safer and better for all of us. We talked about masculinities to a large audience of students in a workshop with KAFA, and spoke at the opening of the Men Engage Ubuntu Symposium, dedicated to transforming masculinities to support feminist visions of a post-COVID world – just the world we want to see!
Their call to action – ubuntu – means “humanity towards others”, speaking to the universal connection we all share – and the responsibility we all have to each other.
In the spirit of that shared humanity, we believe that every person has the right to decide what to do with their own body and their life. We are the regional representatives of the global SheDecides movement, advocating for women’s rights to make free choices. Our latest webinar addressed the impact of the Beirut blast and the economic crises in Lebanon on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
We continued our discussion of the blast and our intertwined crises in our signature student-focused Food 4 Thought session, bringing over 200 people together to hear from seasoned activists Jumanah Zabaneh, Zeina Mezher, and Hayat Mirshad who was just listed as one of BBC most 100 influential women globally for 2020. Bravo!
In other November news, we jointly launched the Beijing +25 Parallel Lebanon Report, reaffirming our commitment to women’s rights and gender equality that were enshrined in Beijing in 1995, for the 4th world conference on women. The Institute was formally represented at that event in 1995 - and we’ll keep on going until we’ve achieved our goal!
The AiW Team