The Arab Institute for Women

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Webinar: “Call to Action: Women’s Leadership in Lebanon’s Crisis and Recovery”

On November 24, 2022, as part of the Food 4 Thought speaking series, The Arab Institute for Women (AiW), the Middle East Partnership Initiative - Tomorrow’s Leaders Gender Scholars Program (MEPI - TLs), and the Institute of Social Justice and Conflict Resolution (ISJCR) at the Lebanese American University (LAU), in collaboration with the Middle East Institute (MEI), hosted a webinar titled “Call to Action: Women’s Leadership in Lebanon’s Crisis and Recovery”. 

In an opening word, Director of The AiW, Ms. Myriam Sfeir, welcomed the attendees, introduced the moderator (Dr. Fadi Nassar: Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and Director of ISJCR at LAU) and the panelists (Ms. Alia Moubayed: an emerging market economist, Ms. Yasmine Ibrahim, Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF, and Ms. Asmahan El Zein, advisor to the board of the Lebanese League for Women in Business), and highlighted the main theme for discussion: The significance of understanding women’s contested performance in Lebanon amid the unresolved crises.

In a first intervention, Ms. Alia Moubayed explained, through an analysis of recent figures, the protracted impact of the 2019 economic crisis on Lebanese women. To achieve change, she emphasized the need to implement reforms which strengthen women’s contribution in all sectors, especially the labor force. She indeed focused on the necessity to acknowledge women’s role in resolving the crisis and the need to integrate them as major actors in all phases of the recovery plan. As Ms. Moubayed further affirmed, women’s inclusion in the post recovery process is central to achieve a sustainable future for Lebanon.

Then, Ms. Yasmine Ibrahim discussed, based on research she conducted, “multidimensional child poverty” in Lebanon the impact of the unresolved crises on human capital in general and the well-being of girls and boys in specific. She explained the challenges faced by children in terms of coping mechanisms, mental health, and access to basic needs amid the hardships lived. As Ms. Ibrahim argued, to alleviate the repercussions of the many crises on children, it is critically important to implement national programs (e.g., cash programs) which address the rising needs of the most vulnerable groups, including women, girls, and boys.  

Building on the previous interventions, Ms. Asmahan El Zein discussed the necessity of collaboration between the public sector and nongovernmental organizations to execute inclusive and fast change. She pinpointed, in light of the economic crisis and the aggravating situation, the importance of women’s participation in the Reform, Recovery & Reconstruction Framework (3RF) program, as well as their involvement in all governmental and nongovernmental recovery initiatives. As she confirmed, the relationship of distrust between nongovernmental bodies and the government requires a reconsideration to better achieve long-term development goals.

The webinar ended with a small discussion amongst the panelists and a Q&A.