Delegations from 16 countries gathered to celebrate their first year of achievement at the “Active Leaders for Women’s Advancement in the Near East” (ALWANE) Regional Summit, where 130 men and women youth, government officials, activists, academics, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and civil society leaders met to discuss many pressing and vital issues related to women’s status as well as real-life success stories from various country committees of ALWANE.
ALWANE Lebanon’s participation in the Summit is a compliment of its yearlong work and achievements towards developing women’s role, strengthening their position in Lebanese society, and enabling them to obtain their full rights and gain their independence.
Achieving economic independence as the first step towards empowering Lebanese women was the core topic ALWANE Lebanon discussed during the summit, as the committee believes that a financially self-reliant woman is stronger and better equipped to emancipate herself.
In Lebanon, only 1% of those who start their own businesses are women, and ALWANE Lebanon wants to see this very low percentage grow by highlighting the success stories of women who have overcome all obstacles to succeed on their own.
Emphasising the success of these women entrepreneurs will encourage others to undergo the same courageous track and show them it is doable despite the many obstacles.
The highlight of ALWANE Lebanon’s achievements includes the upcoming publication of “Qa’idat – Women Leaders,” a book profiling 50 of Lebanon’s inspirational women entrepreneurs who are diverse in terms of geography, domain and age.
“We sought the portraits of these exceptional and successful Lebanese women to demonstrate the obstacles these women overcame, and hope they become a source of inspiration for others,” said Farrah Shamas, “ALWANE” Lebanon Committee Member.
“These women work in education, health, agriculture, business and artistic sectors as well as municipalities and governmental facilities, each one had a different experience with a circuitous path, Some faced social others economic barriers before reaching where they are today.”
ALWANE Lebanon has also participated in the launch of the Nasawiya cafe that allows its members to experience first-hand the challenges of building and running a self-sustainable start-up, as they take shifts at the cafe instead of hiring outsiders to run it.
A main deliverable at the summit was the official release of the ALWANE 2012 Regional Policy Report which consists of policy recommendations that address the most pressing issues facing women in their respective countries.
Policy recommendations suggested by ALWANE Lebanon include the implementation of action plans related to the country’s legal environment, education and public advocacy and awareness system all of which are interrelated but essentially require changing stereotypes about gender identity and gender equality.
These changes need to be integrated into the education system in order to raise public knowledge and understanding, at the youngest of ages, that both men and women can have successful professional careers. It is for the educational institutions to decide if special programs need to be created, or if they would be integrated throughout the overall social studies curriculum, but the most pressing issue would be to remove all sexist educational curricula that confine women’s role to the domestic sphere and put women in a position where they feel that their futures are limited.
Tuesday, December 11- 2012 @ 9:08 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.