8/8 Women Change Makers: Union in Times of Crises – Roundtable Discussion
Women account for 52% of the electorate!
As a pioneer in the fight for women’s rights, Fondation Diane organizes events, initiatives and webinars with the aim to empower women on all levels, economically, socially, financially and politically… and encourage their involvement and participation in the civic sphere, most importantly to reach leadership and decision-making positions in politics and public administrations.
Ahead of the 2022 parliamentary elections, Fondation Diane organized on 8 March 2022, the “8/8 Women Change Makers: Union in Times of Crises” Roundtable Discussion featuring interesting discussions from 8 prominent figures for civic awareness and women empowerment. Fondation Diane called for women’s solidarity; their union constitute an unstoppable force for change! During this event, Diana Fadel encouraged women to fiercely fight for their rights, starting by (1) running for elections, (2) electing more women and therefore (3) reaching the parliament in big numbers!
“Women account for 52% of the electorate, which means they have the power to vote for half of parliament members. If women are electing one another, we shouldn’t need a quota! Give your preferential votes to women!! They have the potential to revive the nation and put it back on the right track!”
8 prominent figures for Women Empowerment
Ali Khalife: Ali focused on the declining status of women when it comes to their participation in politics, and their diminished civil rights in light of the religious personal status laws. The “2018 Global Gender Gap Report” ranked Lebanon amongst the lowest on the political empowerment of women in Arab countries, which is astounding, considering that Lebanese women were given the right to vote and to stand for a seat in the parliament since 1952, way before many Arab countries.
May El Kahlil: May stressed the role of women in sports: “Contrary to traditional beliefs, women are physically powerful and strong. That’s why we introduced the annual Women’s Race… It aims at empowering women, supporting their psychological and physical health, and contributing to their self-realization… Our decision is to continue our path as women for the sake of life and hope… Your path is your decision. We will stand with you inside and outside parliament.”
Joelle Abou Farhat: Joelle touched on the importance of transforming women’s jealousy into an honest competition between them. Lebanon ranked 183rd out of 187 countries in the world, in terms of women’s representation in parliament, and 15th out of 17 in the Arab world. It is the only Arab country that did not take any serious measures to support women.” She urged women to participate massively in the upcoming parliamentary elections to modernize the unfair laws.
Madiha Raslan: Businesswomen are agents of change in many economic fields, as are their fellow businessmen. At WLA we are working towards promoting investment and trade in the Arab World. With the Union of Arab Chambers, the Arab Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) will enhance women’s ability to innovate and accumulate funds and technical expertise to benefit their nations. Now is the best time for women to invest and grow in the local economy especially in growing our National GDP after this severe economic crisis.
Tracy Chamoun: Tracy shed light on the patriarchy and its monopoly in politics. “The representatives – who often fight each other – united and voted against women’s quota. The Lebanese are in a difficult situation, and women have a national duty and role. Women should be encouraged to run for office, to elevate women in the political sector, which to this day still deprives them access to decision-making positions.”
Michel El Helou: Michel gave the strength of the EU as an example; it is headed by 3 women. “This strong image of women in decision-making ends all doubts regarding their ability to reach important positions. Based on my experience in journalism, topics related to women’s rights attract a large number of readers, which means that Lebanese society is ready for change. To all women who wish to run for office, don’t think, do it! Today our country needs a mother to protect it!
Sarah El Yafi: Sarah clarified some misconceptions about feminism and women’s rights. A part of our society believes that women are not eligible to demand equality with men, because the two genders are biologically different. Stressing that the issue of equality was not addressed since Plato and Epicurus and later on in the 18th century, she said, “These are 22 centuries of human civilization and progress that are completely devoid of any mention of equality!”
Diana Fadel: Diana shed light on the effective role of women in society, especially in times of crises. “The status of women in our country is miserable and their rights are violated. Just look at the personal status laws, and count the number of women in parliament. Their union constitutes an unstoppable force for change!” She focused on women’s ability to revive the nation and put it back on the right track, starting by being part of parliament in large numbers, and fiercely fighting for their rights.
Letter from the President of “Fondation Diane” to our fellow citizens
Today is Women’s Day. On this occasion,” Fondation Diane” is organizing a roundtable discussion led by 8 pioneers whose voices should be heard. The goal is to sound the alarm that calls for the union of women, in a final burst, to save the country from the multidimensional crisis which is going crescendo. Hereby, I would like to invite you to join us and unite our voices.
I am aware that you are already doing the best you can in this regard. So am I. However, scattered efforts – no matter how heroic they are – are never enough! Till today, our martyrs have spilled their blood in vain!! Men who are running the country are not giving women what they owe them. We need a new common” civic awareness” for women, to highlight the role they can and must play, together, to revive this nation and put it back on the right track. Unity is strength! Let’s unite our voices. Let’s raise them high so that justice is served; to the weak links of society, and to the youth – this fresh blood that flows through the veins of the country, with no future or hope- who are leaving, disgusted with previous generations who forced them to abandon their homeland.
I therefore invite you to join us and take part in this roundtable discussion that calls for the union of female energies, in order to carry out our duty as citizens and to do again what women always do in times of war: roll up their sleeves and defend, with all their strength, their country, their children, and their compatriots to put life back on the right course.
Are you interested? I’m sure you are aware of the urgency as much as I am. Let us therefore meet all together today, to encourage women to vote massively for women, who after all represent 52% of the electorate in Lebanon. For women first! Not only for women, but also for men who uphold feminine values of peace and justice and give women the opportunity to make it!
Why am I making this call? Sincerely, so that my civic conscience is clear, and I can say to myself: I keep trying and always will; I do what I can!
2022 Parliamentary Elections
The “Sawtak Karamtak Masirak” National Campaign
In the same context, “Fondation Diane” launched a national campaign prior to Lebanese parliamentary elections. With a reach of 2.000.000 citizens across Lebanon, the campaign succeeded in enlightening citizens on their civic rights and duties, and how to “vote for change”, through:
– Organizing an informative/educational webinar about the Lebanese electoral law.
– 15 creative social media posts that received a lot of engagement and interaction.
– Women empowerment visuals and videos that call for “preferential votes for women”
– Educational how-to-vote video and posts
– 1.000.000 SMS
THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS MUCH STRONGER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER!