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Politics

Putting women in power through media

BEIRUT | iloubnan.info - February 27, 2013, 11h21
Par Louise Wernvik
One can expect to see more female candidates than ever for this year´s parliamentary election in Lebanon. A new project has been launched to kick the sexism out of this country and push women to claim their fair share of the power throne.
“This will shake mentalities. Women have a role and they will play it,” Joelle Abou Farhat Rizkallah, co-founder of Women in Front, said during the press conference held on February 26 to launch the project “Media Supporting Women Leaders”. 

"Media Supporting Women Leader" is a joint project by SMART Center and Women in Front under the patronage of Minister of Information, Walid Daouk. The project will run for nine months. It aims to put more women in power by changing to general conception of women through media. In this framework, women in Front and SMART Center are launching an advertisement awareness campaign to push women to run for election as well as to vote for female candidates. The goal is to achieve a breakthrough in public opinion and build confidence in the capabilities of female leaders.

“We don´t see women experts and leaders in mainstream media. Their absence from the media landscape is directly affecting the public´s confidence in women´s capabilities as decision makers and leaders,” Randa Yassir, director of SMART Center, said.

The idea of this project started by raising big questions such as; why aren´t women seeking roles in decision making and political life? Why aren´t women being able to reach parliament? Why aren´t women appreciated as leaders? The conclusion was that media is not promoting women in these contexts.

Lebanese women represent 53 percent of the population. Compared to other countries, they are well educated and active in both public and private sectors. 37 percent of women in the ages of 25-29 are working. In Lebanese parties, 30-59 percent of their members are women. Yet none of these figures are reflected in the political life and we rarely see women on boards or in decision making roles.
“This is an important step in changing the way Lebanese society views women. It is our priority, and it must be a national priority to promote a positive image of women leaders,” Yassir said.

One of the activities of the project is to create a directory with 150 female experts in different fields. For politics, 40 women are signed up, intending to run for parliament. Carol Babikaan Kokoni is one of the candidates, who will go through training to learn more about politics, leadership and image. The organizations will also help her gain more visibility in media, as the project will also hold a work shop for journalists on how to promote a positive image of potential women leaders.

“This initiative is great. Without them it would have been much more difficult for me to run for parliament,” Babikaan said.

Whether or not Lebanon is ready for gender equality, Women in Front and SMART Center are joining their forces to impose women into the agenda of power.

“Today is the time. We have an opportunity and we will take it. They have to be ready,” Joelle Abou Farhat Rizkallah said.
Tags
#Women, #Women_power, #Women_empowerment, #Women_in_politics
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