The Arab Institute for Women

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Webinar: “Gender and the Environment”

On February 13, 2023, as part of the Food 4 Thought speaking series, The AiW and the Middle East Partnership Initiative - Tomorrow’s Leaders Gender Scholars Program (MEPI - TLS) hosted a webinar titled “Gender and the Environment” to discuss the mutually reinforcing relationship between a sustainable environment and gender equality on one hand, and the impact of environmental degradation on the deepening of gender inequalities on the other.

In an opening word, Director of The AiW, Ms. Myriam Sfeir, highlighted the importance of exploring the relationship between gender and the environment, welcomed the attendees and introduced the panelists: Ms. Nisreen El Saim (Climate Change Activist), Ms. Hiba Farhat and Ms. Rouba Farhat (Members of Nidaa’ El Ard Association), and Ms. Joslin Faith Kehdy (Founder of the NGO Recycle Lebanon).

In a first intervention, Ms. Nisreen El Saim explained the severe repercussions of climate change on women and girls. As she emphasized, climate change, which not only restricts women’s access to natural and basic resources but as well precipitates violence, conflicts, and wars, to which women and girls are the most vulnerable, further threatens’ women and girls’ safety and enshrines existing inequalities. To achieve change, Ms. El Saim called for the implementation of gender-sensitive legislations which recognize and limit the negative effects of climate change on vulnerable groups, especially women. The inclusion of women in environmental action, she confirmed, will help to create a sustainable environment to all of us.

Then, Ms. Hiba Farhat and Ms. Rouba Farhat discussed the importance of communal and individual initiatives to help local authorities in promoting sustainable solutions to environmental problems. As active members in Nidaa’ El Ard, they explained the organization’s key role in implementing effective waste management strategies, through awareness campaigns and applied initiatives, in the South of Lebanon. The success of any environmental campaign, Ms. Rouba Farhat explained, is continuity and consistency in the development of action plans. Despite the overlapping challenges, she explains how their team has managed to involve the different sectors of local communities, especially women, in their projects, and have therefore been able to reduce the impact of waste mismanagement, through women’s involvement in, for example, recycling initiatives.  

Lastly, Ms. Joslin Faith Kehdy introduced Recycle Lebanon’s leading wok on zero waste sorting and recycling cleanups. As she argued, around seven years after the founding of Recycle Lebanon, the opportunities to create change have been many but require the continuous support of the local communities and the inclusion of all its factions, especially women, in promoting an environment-friendly living culture. With great will, resilience and perseverance, Ms. Kehdy confirmed, women can be active agents of change and can help to achieve climate justice.

The webinar concluded with a short Q&A session.