The Arab Institute for Women

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Why Gender Justice Matters

In collaboration with the MEPI-Tomorrow’s Leaders Program at LAU, The AiW organized a Food 4 Thought discussion titled “Why Gender Justice Matters”. The speakers were Ms. Diana Moukalled, co-founder of Daraj Media, Dr. Halimeh Kaakour, researcher and lecturer, and Ms. Menaal Munshey, regional consultant on gender justice. Ms. Myriam Sfeir, The AiW’s director moderated the session.

Ms. Diana Moukalled, a journalist with 30 years’ experience, started her talk by recounting her experience working on gender justice issues and covering the injustices women face within a patriarchal system. She enumerated the discrimination she witnessed first-hand while covering issues related to marginalized groups. Through the writings, documentaries, and short movies she worked on that covered issues related to femicide, crimes of honor, rape, personal status laws, she was able to uncover the detrimental effects of violence against women in the Arab region. Through her work, Moukalled tried to uncover the untold stories of those who have “no voice”. She also delved into the limitations and  restrictions imposed by mainstream media, and highlighted the importance of alternative media in showcasing the plight of marginalized groups. She recounted to the students how she and two partners founded Daraj Media in 2017, an alternative and politically independent media outlet. Moukalled and in her closing statement asserted “unless we have a law that deals with women equally and looks at them as equal citizens, we will not be able to overcome problems like child marriage and violence …etc.”

Dr. Halimeh Kaakour, researcher and gender expert, was the second speaker. She spoke about the study “Comparative Study of Violence Against Female Reporters and Male Reporters during Lebanon’s 2019 Protest Movement” she prepared in collaboration with The AiW and UN Women. The study analyzes, from a gendered perspective, the online violence female and male reporters covering the Lebanese uprising were subjected to on twitter, and covers the first three months of the protests. Kaakour discussed with the students the methodology used, the measuring tools adopted, and highlighted the recommendations that ensued and the required reforms within the cultural, political, and legal context in Lebanon.

The last speaker, Dr. Menaal Munshey, regional consultant with UN-ESCWA, started her talk by looking at gender justice as a formal process with substantive outcomes. According to her “without gender justice, development simply isn’t possible”. She discussed the Gender Justice and the Law initiative, a multi-stakeholder partnership between UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, and UN-ESCWA, and highlighted the importance of such reports that aim at prioritizing the policy-making process in the Arab region. The reports within the context of this initiative, include methodologies to enhance state adherence to international frameworks, and address gender barriers while looking at 20 Arab states on both the national and the regional levels.