Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but is also crucial to accelerating sustainable development. It has been proven time and again, that empowering women and girls has a multiplier effect, and helps drive up economic growth and development across the board.

Since 2000, UNDP, together with our UN partners and the rest of the global community, has made gender equality central to our work. We have seen remarkable progress since then. More girls are now in school compared to 15 years ago, and most regions have reached gender parity in primary education. Women now make up to 41 percent of paid workers outside of agriculture, compared to 35 percent in 1990.

The SDGs aim to build on these achievements to ensure that there is an end to discrimination against women and girls everywhere. There are still huge inequalities in the labour market in some regions, with women systematically denied equal access to jobs.

In the Arab region, women face high barriers to entry into the labor market and are at a higher risk of unemployment than men. Despite witnessing a slow decrease over the last 15 years from 22.4 percent in 2000 to 19.96 percent in 2015, women’s unemployment rate is more than double that for men in the region at 8.96 percent, and to a world average of 6.2 percent, both for the same year, 2015. Among young women, unemployment rates are the highest in the world, almost double the rates among young Arab men, 48 versus 23 percent.

Sexual violence and exploitation, the unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work, and discrimination in public office, all remain huge barriers.

Affording women equal rights to economic resources such as land and property are vital targets to realizing SDG 5 –to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. So is ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health. Today there are more women in public office than ever before, but encouraging women leaders will help strengthen policies and legislation for greater gender equality.

In spite of solid achievements with regard to equality and empowerment, women in Lebanon still face inequality in society, politics, legal affairs and the labour market. Lebanon does not yet enjoy full and unconditional equality between men and women.

A Webinar Intervention for the Dean of the Faculty of Human Sciences on Arab Women and Psychological Stress, Techniques and Solutions

In collaboration with the Kuwait Trade Union Federation, and in coordination with the Kuwaiti Working Women Committee, Prof. Mayssah El Nayal gave a talk as part of the Webinar on “Arab Women and Psychological Stress: Techniques and Solutions”. The webinar was conducted via Zoom on Tuesday, 13th October 2020, with the participation of around 80 attendees from 20 countries.

The webinar focused on the nature of psychological stress and its impact upon healthy behavior, in particular in the light of the current situation. With particular reference to Covid-19, the webinar tackled the nature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), highlighting strategies for coping and the most prominent therapies available. The webinar concluded with a number of questions from the participants relevant to psychological stress and the age of Corona.

For the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, the Human Rights Center at Beirut Arab University in collaboration with the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU) and Internal Security Forces ISF organized a workshop on Friday 4th of December 2020 at the village of Khrab El Hayatt- Akkar within the framework of 16 days to raise awareness globally on the elimination of violence against women.

The workshop, was represented by Dr. Tala Zein from the Lebanese National commission for UNESCO, Ms. Salam Zahran from the Human Rights Center at Beirut Arab University, and Major Youssef El Dekweir from the Internal security forces . It targeted 25 participants mainly females, aimed at increasing public awareness on violence against women; building capacity and understanding main definitions and concepts in the framework of Women’s Rights; engaging youth in promoting women’s rights and contribution to fight discrimination within their society. In addition participants were trained on entrepreneur skills in developing projects and business.

A Seminar on Women’s Rights at BAU In Collaboration with the EU Delegation

The Human Rights Center at Beirut Arab University organized in collaboration with the European Union Delegation in Lebanon a seminar on “Women’s Rights: Challenges and Opportunities for Gender Equality in Lebanon”. The event which was held on the 3rd of December, 2013 was attended by Prof. Dr. Amr Galal El Adawi, President of BAU, Mrs. Angelina Ekhorest, European Union Ambassador, Mrs. Ursula Fahringer, Austrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Deans of Faculties, Mr. Issam Houri, BAU Secretary General, Wakf El Bir and Ihsan’s Members of Board of Trustees, Directors of BAU Centers, BAU Administrators, and 250 students from various majors.

Prof. Dr. Amr Galal El Adawi reiterated in his word the role of BAU in supporting human rights, in particular women’s rights, through the Human Rights Center, as well as the establishment of a specialized Women’s Studies Diploma and a legal clinic where students – under the supervision of licensed lawyers – aid disadvantaged target groups to fight for their rights.

Mrs. Angelina Ekhorest, European Union Ambassador, addressed the students, reminding the audience that Lebanon is an important partner to the EU, not only in terms of dealing with the Syrian crisis, but also in terms of human rights. This is manifest in the effectiveness of parliamentary elections and structural reforms in the economic and social sectors.

Dr. Omar Houri, Director of the BAU Human Rights Center reviewed in his word the foundations of a woman’s right to grant her family her nationality in accordance with the Lebanese Constitution and the International Law. He added that there are over 18000 Lebanese women married to foreigners in Lebanon. There are no accurate statistics as to the number of children in these marriages, but it is possible to imagine the amount prejudices these children and citizens are exposed to. Such discrimination impacts upon medical care, education, employment and other aspects of daily life. 

The seminar also included an intervention by Mrs. Ursula Fahringer, Austrian Ambassador to Lebanon, and Lawyer Layla Awada from “Kafa”. The seminar was moderated by journalist Anne-Marie El Hage from L’Orient Le Jour.

Beirut Arab University Celebrates the International Women’s Day

The Human Rights Center at BAU (HRC) celebrated the International Women’s Day by holding a series of events that focus on the roles played by women in society.

It demonstrated the best solutions to combat domestic violence, and the impact of this phenomenon on the family and the children. 

The event was held at Beirut Campus on the 10th of March 2014, whereby the Center set up different stands  all over the campus. Brochures and pamphlets were distributed documenting various forms of violence women face in Lebanon. These Brochures also illustrated the role of relevant organizations in combating this phenomenon. Two representatives from “Abaad Organization”, Lama Naja and Saja Mikhael, explained to the students the nature of the work exerted in this issue, as well as the aspects of the legal and rights battle fought by women towards a legislation that would protect women from domestic violence.

The Center further held a seminar attended by Prof. Dr. Mohamed Kassem, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Assistant Dean and Director of the Human Rights Center , Dr. Omar Houri and staff-members. The seminar included a screening of two films: “Ahlam” (Dreams) which offers a message to every woman who has survived domestic or marital violence, and “Regal fi Al Zil” (Men in the Shadow) which depicts a number of men who have become role-models in society in their role as advocates of women’s rights and protecting women from violence. 

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Kassem offered an intervention in which he recommended that all organizations working on protecting women should rely more on researchs, field studies and statistics. They should not limit themselves to merely emphasizing on cases of violence, so as to endow additional credibility to this issue.