Hivos International

Women Empowered For Leadership

Politics has a bad reputation in Lebanon. But one Hivos partner is working to encourage women’s political participation by addressing political apathy and disinterest in young people.

One of the key challenges in working with political parties on gender equality and women’s political participation is dealing with backlash from defensive male party members who feel that their power is threatened.

Now that the 2017 elections are behind us (or so we assume), it is important to reflect on some of the issues emerging from the polls that are dear to us. One of those being women in leadership. Last year when the debate about the 2010 Constitution’s two thirds gender rule was so heated (“not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender”), we in the women’s movement reached a moment of despair. I actually wrote an article asking whether Kenya would ever be ready for women in political leadership.

The Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) organized a two day leadership retreat in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe as part of Hivos’ Women Empowered for Leadership (WE4L) programme. The meeting brought together female leaders in fulfillment of earlier commitments to contribute to a mentoring programme for aspiring women leaders in business and politics.  At the retreat, women leaders shared their experiences in leadership particulalrly the challenges they overcame to become influential leaders.

Hivos Southern Africa launched its Women Empowered for Leadership Programme (WE4L) in Zimbabwe on April 27, 2017 at its regional offices in Harare, Zimbabwe.  The launch was attended by women leaders from political, civil society and business sectors.

Hivos Southern Africa conducted a training on outcome harvesting targeted at partner organizations in the Women Empowered for Leadership project in Zimbabwe. Twenty participants underwent the training and expressed enthusiasm at learning how to effectively conduct outcome harvesting processes.

The Women Empowered for Leadership (WE4L) is a five-year programme running from 2016-2020 managed by Hivos and implemented together with local partners in, Jordan and Lebanon, Malawi Zambia, Zimbabwe,.

 

Man to woman the evening of March 8: “Your day is over, time to go back to the kitchen”. *laughter*

It’s easy to assume that this type of sexist humour just comes out of typical male cafés in Lebanon.

But this joke was used by seasoned Lebanese television host Marcel Ghanem in a tweet to open his weekly political show ‘Kalam Ennas’ - one of the most-watched political talk shows on mainstream Lebanese  television - during the week of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017!

Overcoming poor representation and gender stereotypes

Hivos WE4L Lebanon Partner Maharat Foundation’s report following its gendered-based election media monitoring in the May 2016 Lebanese municipal elections shows how women political opinion-makers and leaders continue to be weakly represented in the Lebanese audio-visual media.

 

“There is no abstract mass of Lebanese citizens; there are Lebanese male citizens and Lebanese female citizens.” - May Mikdashi, “A Legal Guide to being a Lebanese Woman

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