UNESCO Beirut celebrates International Women’s Day by empowering Arab youth to advocate for gender equality
In the Arab States, violence against women and girls remains one of the main obstacles to women and girls’ active contribution to society. In the region, 37% of women have experienced a form of violence in their lifetime according to available data.
As indicated in the SDG #5, achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms. In this regard, gender equality is central to UNESCO’s work, in all of its fields of competence -- to ensure girls’ and women's equal access to quality education and skills development, science and technology, information and communication.
Against this backdrop, and on the occasion of International Women’s Day, UNESCO Beirut is organizing on 27-29 March 2018 a regional training workshop for “Arab Youth advocating for gender equality and women’s rights”. The three-day workshop builds on the successful advocacy campaigns carried out in Lebanon and in the region to promote zero tolerance for Gender-Based Violence (GBV). In 2016, a national-scale campaign was conducted by a Lebanese NGO, ABAAD, to abolish Article 522 of the Lebanese Penal Code, which included provisions preventing the prosecution or execution of a penalty is stopped if the rapist or kidnapper marries the victim. Recently, Tunisia has abolished article 227 bis of its penal code, while Jordan repealed article 308, which include similar provisions. Prior to this, Morocco abolished similar legislation in 2014 and Egypt in 1999. Nevertheless, law amendment or law abolishment does not necessarily lead to effective and full implementation, and it is essential to raise awareness about women’s rights and GBV at both institutional and community levels.
This regional training workshop will be organized by UNESCO in partnership with Arab Institute for Human Rights (AIHR) and ABAAD within the project of Network of Mediterranean Youth (NETMED) with EU funding, targets a group of 30 young men and women active in advocacy coming from 5 Arab countries together with representatives of youth forum from European countries. It seeks to promote women’s rights and empowerment by building competences on advocacy for fair legislations and creating an enabling and supportive environment for adolescent girls and women by increasing the public’s awareness on GBV.
More specifically, the workshop aims at :
- Sharing good practices and lessons learnt from advocacy campaigns in preventing Gender Based Violence, and building the capacities of youth advocates/ campaigners in this area
- Developing the strategic planning capacities, evidence-based knowledge, communication skills and effective commitment of partner youth organizations working on gender equality and women’s rights to plan a GBV prevention campaign nationally and/or regionally.
-Reinforcing North-South-South networking and exchange of practices between Arab and European Youth organizations in order to cross their experiences in the field of gender mainstreaming within cultural heritage promotion and protection.
Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.
Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs.
Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.