Stories

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From cities to rural communities and camp settings, families in Lebanon are reshaping traditional patriarchal roles and advocating for gender equality. We take a glance at the lives of three couples who share their experiences of participatory and equal relations in all aspects of their lives including household decision-making, childcare, and domestic responsibilities.
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Mariam lived with an abusive husband for 17 years before leaving him in 2018 after she sought protection and legal help from KAFA, a Lebanese non-governmental organization and a UN Women partner. With legal services and support, Mariam was able to access justice and regain the strength she thought was lost.
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Souhaila Nassar, 33, came to Burj Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon as a young child. After learning and growing from the services of the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organization, Nassar now works to support other young refugees.
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Former Lebanese prison inmate Oula Abdo, 24, reflects on the challenges of life after prison and how she is getting back on her feet to embrace life again.
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Lebanese businesswoman Caroline Fattal, 49 years old, has been named one of the “Most Powerful Arab Women in Business” by Forbes Middle East in 2014, 2015, 2017 and again last year, in 2020. Co-founder of Stand for Women, a Lebanon-based NGO, she has dedicated much of her time since 2017 to helping more female entrepreneurs enter the private sector and take on leadership positions. Since the August 2020 Beirut explosion, Fattal and Stand for Women have partnered with UN Women to support small women-owned businesses.
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Hayat Mirshad is a 32-year-old Lebanese feminist, human rights activist and gender, communications and advocacy expert. As co-founder of the feminist collective FE-MALE in Lebanon, she advocates against discriminatory gender norms and policies and works closely with UN Women’s Men and Women for Gender Equality programme funded by the Government of Sweden. The programme works to change behaviours and social norms for gender equality in the Arab States. Mirshad is also a member of UN Women’s Gender Innovation Agora and was recognized as one of the BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2020 for her activism on women’s rights. In this interview, she shares her journey of fighting gender inequity and explains how to rally for wide-reaching and sustainable impact.
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As Lebanon sees a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and deteriorating living conditions due to the ongoing political and economic crisis and the Beirut port explosions, Nisrine Kaf Al-Ghazal, a Syrian living in the capital, tries to make ends meet.
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Meserat Hailu, was 29 years old when she travelled to Beirut, Lebanon as an Ethiopian migrant domestic worker. For more than eight years, she suffered abuse by her employer until Legal Action Worldwide received word of her situation and took up her case and demanded her release.
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According to a rapid assessment that UN Women and ACTED produced immediately after the August 2020 explosion, elderly women are among the most vulnerable. They are less likely than men to have worked in their life, to have savings or pensions, and are over-represented among Lebanon’s poorest.
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One of UN Women’s partner on the ground, the Restart Center, is providing treatment, psychosocial support and distributing medicine to the most vulnerable.
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While we mourn, we must not romanticise the Beirut we lost. Lebanon before 4 August was one where inequalities were rife and insufficiently addressed
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While humanitarian action in Beirut is in full swing after the two explosions that hit the city on 4 August, killing hundreds and displacing more than 300,000 people, even as COVID-19 cases rise, Lebanese youth have taken to the streets, masks on, providing food and assistance to those in need.
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Reeling from deep economic crisis, COVID-19, and now the blasts, Lebanon needs women at the centre of recovery plans.
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As COVID-19 impacts parents around the world, sharing the care work is critical. This Palestinian couple living in a refugee camp in Lebanon shows how it’s done.
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Years of collective mobilization, strategizing and innovation by women’s rights groups culminated in the repeal or reform of archaic laws across the Northern Africa and Western Asia region
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After some resistance from her husband, Ibtissam Jaber joined Yanouh cooperative in rural South Lebanon. Jaber, a mother of seven, loves producing traditional agro-foods and believes in the importance of contributing to her household’s income. By selling her products at food exhibitions across the country, she has now transitioned from being a small-scale producer to a profitable entrepreneur.
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Through participatory theatre performances using acting and puppetry, women and men in Lebanon are speaking up to claim their rights, with some going on to become community mobilizers.
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Wedged between prolonged conflict on both its northern and southern borders with Syria and Israel, respectively, Lebanon has endured immense stress over the past several decades. Presently, Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world, and the country is still reeling from the effects of an internal armed conflict that dates to the 1970s. Recognizing that women and girls are differently impacted by conflict and the critical role they play in building and sustaining peace, in 2017 the Council of Ministers tasked the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW), to develop Lebanon’s first National Action Plan (NAP) to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
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In its highly anticipated parliamentary election in almost ten years, Lebanon saw a record number of women on the ballot. An unprecedented 113 women registered as candidates, and 86 of them made it to candidate lists.
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Rabiha Khalloof is a 47-year-old Syrian refugee who fled Syria almost three years ago. She is among 520 Syrian women refugees in Lebanon who have received training and economic assistance from the third phase of a UN Women project, funded by the Government of Japan and the Ford Foundation. Today Khalloof is earning an income for the first time and aspiring to teach other women to start their own businesses.