Project: “Women in Leadership”
In line with the UNDP’s “Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2025,” this project will serve as an accelerator, which will incite the local community to further embrace equality and acknowledge the roles of women leaders in different fields. The project will include both research outputs and outreach activities to document women leaders’ success stories and to maximize community outreach and positive impact. Such an inclusive approach ensures that the stories of women leaders and change makers are accessible to a wider audience beyond the confines of the university and other civil society spaces. The larger goal of The AiW’s project is to connect everyday Lebanese in some capacity with women change makers, challenge the social barriers, increase popular support to women’s empowerment, and provide enlightening information to correct general attitudes concerning women’s social roles. To that end, the intended beneficiaries of this project will include the broader public, students and youth, researchers, women’s rights and gender equality experts, and civil society actors. To meet the project’s intended goals, The AiW is working with an extended pool of contributors including but not limited to researchers, activists, artists and actors, writers, and women leaders.
Below is a brief of the activities and events that will be organized within the context of this project.
- Women Speak Out Event-TEDx Style
- Two theatrical plays establishing a creative and artistic representation of women leaders’ achievements.
- A special issue of Al-Raida journal in English and Arabic
- Our Feminine Memory book highlighting contribution of pioneering Lebanese Women leaders.
- Update of the “Who is She” online database.
1. Women Speak Out Event
A one-day event comprised of 3 sessions, in which a total of around 15 speakers from Lebanon and the Arab region will participate. The event will incentivize the audience to explore motivating ideas and partake in inspirational talks on women leaders’ success stories.
The event day will also host different entertainment activities, as part of The TEDx social space. Recreations will include a speakers’ corner, different activities curated from diverse stakeholders, and other innovative ideas like the ‘human library’, interactive art spaces, mindfulness corners, etc.
2. Two Theatrical Plays
The first play: “Like an Ant that Digs in Stone”, retraces the struggle of Wadad Halawani, a true leader and an inspiring woman who, since the disappearance of her husband during the civil war, mobilized women and led champions to demand justice for the families of the kidnapped and forcibly disappeared.
The second play: “Women Champions of Gender Equality”, entails a reading of excerpts from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work to understand its resonance within the Arab context through the writings of Nawal El Saadawi and Emily Nasrallah. The three women who serve as role models, offer a global, regional, and national acknowledgement of the struggle to exact change in challenging contexts.
The plays will tour in several schools (private and public) and universities all over Lebanon. Each will be followed by an open discussion session with students and teachers/professors.
3. Special Al-Raida Journal Issue
In celebration of the Arab Institute for Women’s (AiW) 50th anniversary in 2023, a special issue of Al-Raida is being produced. This issue, which is a “follow-up” to The AiW’s 25th anniversary special edition on “Women’s Lives”, will showcase the contributions of feminists and women’s rights actors and/or organizations – since the early 2000s (the publishing date of the 25th anniversary issue of Al-Raida) – in pursuing gender justice for women in the Arab region. The issue is divided into 10 different sections, loosely mimicking the priorities of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and other development indicators. Each section focuses on specific areas, such as the education sector, healthcare, and women’s rights, and begins with a short overview of the work that The AiW has done relative to these topics. It is anticipated to be published in winter (December/January) of 2023-2024, as part of an in-person event marking a year-long stream of anniversary activities. Following this soft release, the issue will be printed and translated for distribution to gender and women’s studies libraries around the world.
4. Our Feminine Memory Book
The book highlights the contributions of pioneering Lebanese women writers, educators, journalists, political activists, doctors, and professionals who actively supported the fight for women’s rights. This book will serve as an important archival record (in print and online via The AiW’s website) which will document and preserve the life stories of women leaders and their inspirational experiences.
5. Who Is She Online Database
The Who is She in Lebanon is a database that was established in 2008 through a multi-country project funded by the Danish organization KVINFO. The database is a showcase of leading Lebanese women across various areas of expertise. The database provides biographical data on women in Lebanon in order to highlight their achievements and promote their expertise across diverse fields. The impetus behind this was to demonstrate that women in Lebanon have reached great heights and therefore have the right to be included in senior levels of leadership and decision-making across every field. (The website has had around 62,000 hits in the past 1 month and 3 weeks). The mission of the database is to introduce the Lebanese public, the Arab world as well as the rest of the world to prominent contemporary Lebanese women and cast light on their achievements across every field, including politics, science, arts, literature, and much more. The AiW will be upgrading the database by reviewing the existing criteria for relevance; verifying the existing women listed; calling for nominations and adding women to the database; sharing the platform more widely in the country, the region, and globally; and futureproofing the platform so that it continues to grow.
The AiW organized a launching event to announce the kick-off the said project.