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Meeting on “Gender Equality, Cultural and Social Problems in Lebanon Research Priorities and Policy Solutions”

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26 October 2018
Meeting on “Gender Equality, Cultural and Social Problems in Lebanon Research Priorities and Policy Solutions”
“Enhancing Research Linkage for a State of Knowledge in Lebanon” is a joint project (2018-2019) between UNESCO and Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development, which aims to strengthen the role of universities as key educational and knowledge production institutions, backing up decision making at the national level and in all fields contributing to country’s growth and development.
The project implements tools and mechanisms to contribute to the UNESCO’s inter-governmental programme on Management of Social Transformations (MOST) which works with governments, social and human science communities and civil societies to improve connections between knowledge and action, connections that are one key to positive social change and to promote a culture of evidence-informed decision-making. For, a strong research-policy linkage is a privileged and effective approach to promote participatory decision-making and to enhance governance in addressing multiple issues of complexity of social transformations.

Capacity development of university students on emerging development issues is a core of the project.

In this context, UNESCO Beirut and Hariri Foundation organized in April 2018 a MOST school on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially SDG#5 - Gender Equality - and SDG#16 -Social Inclusion and Peace. The School produced a set of recommendations including further policy research and sharing of findings and methodologies.

As follow up to this MOST School, UNESCO Beirut and Hariri Foundation held on 26-27 October a research meeting on Gender Equality, in cooperation with the inter-disciplinary unit of Doctorate School of the Lebanese University. The meeting, hosted at Radisson Blu Hotel in Beirut, targeted a group of researchers, PhD students, and civil society activists.

The meeting came at a timely moment. In fact, gender equality has been a major concern for international institutions for the past few years. Despite all the international agreements, which aimed at eliminating all forms of gender discrimination, access to the principle of equality is still not achieved.

Lebanon has signed several international conventions on women matters, and has amended several laws that help to initiate this process. The establishment of the Ministry of State for Women's Affairs is one of the most important initiatives taken by the Lebanese Government in this regard. However, more work is still required to achieve gender equality.

In order to fill the knowledge gap in this field, the meeting on Gender Equality aimed at discussing the current situation in Lebanon and providing a platform for researchers and activists to brainstorm on the way forward.

In the opening session, Dr Seiko Sugita, Programme Specialist of the Social and Human Sciences Programme at UNESCO Beirut, said: “Through identifying Gender Equality as a global priority for the Organization, UNESCO has committed to making a positive and lasting contribution to women’s empowerment and gender equality around the world. UNESCO makes an original and holistic contribution to creating an enabling environment for gender equality through coordinated actions in its distinct sectors: Education, Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information”. She asked: “Which society do we envision in 12 years from now, by 2030? If we are not bolder and more innovative, the ambitious development agenda of 2030 that the international community agreed on will not be achievable. Partners have no choice but working together to move forward together”.

In the two-day meeting, participants attended experts’ lectures and research presentations covering all aspects of gender inequality, including: Law and women in Lebanon: legal discrepancies; Political isolation, lack of empowerment and the role of women’s associations; Socio-cultural foundations of gender inequality; Economic Dimensions of Gender Disparities.