Why Gender Justice Matters
In collaboration with the MEPI-Tomorrow’s Leaders at LAU, the AiW organized a Food 4 Thought discussion entitled “Why Gender Justice Matters”.
Almost 30 years in the journalism field, Ms. Diana Mokalled founded Daraj Media, an alternative and politically independent media outlet, due to the limitations she faced working in mainstream media. Mokalled feels obligated to tell the stories of the girls and women that she had met throughout her journey in journalism who suffered or were victims of many types of gender-based violence.
According to Dr. Halimeh Kaakour, researcher and lecturer, women in different fields, and journalism specifically, are contemned and reduced to their traditional societal roles as housewives and caregivers. Dr. Kaakour believes that even though both male and female reporters should be protected, the intensity of the violence both genders are subject to differs drastically among women in comparison to their male counterparts. She added that all types of violence that are exercised on female reporters affect their productivity and well-being more than they do for male reporters.
This fact relates to Dr. Menaal Munshey’s major security sector reform project in Lebanon, in which Dr. Munshey believes that “without gender justice, development simply isn’t possible”. In this project, Dr. Munshey states that in the Arab world, the issue of gender equality is still highly prominent as men enjoy many more rights than their female equivalents. This project focuses on drafting reports that compare the state of gender in different countries across the MENA region, in which Tunisia is the only country, so far, that enjoys a more progressive attitude towards women’s rights.
As a final note, Ms. Mokalled affirmed that it is crucial to address personal status law instead of tackling gender issues separately, while Dr. Munshey believes that the sexual harassment law that was implemented this year in Lebanon was a positive step towards reaching gender equality. However, the absence of female representation in the newly formed Lebanese government puts Lebanon one step behind.