“We need safe spaces where we can speak our mind and make decisions that benefit our communities” said a young girl from a conservative region in peripheral city in Lebanon. To do so, Fe-Male has mobilized young women and girls as well as engaged young men in the fight for gender equality. In 2018, Fe-Male established feminist clubs in two conservative areas in Lebanon in the North- Tripoli and in the South- Nabatieh, creating platforms that connect different ideas and give the young members a chance to link these ideas to one another and to translate them into actions; Fe-Male worked on reinforcing youth skills for them to be champions for gender equality in their communities. Through the members of the two clubs, the spirit of full active citizenship, as well as solidarity for human rights and feminist issues increased. Feminist movement-building is crucial to achieving social change in any country, especially when seeking gender justice. Fe-Male was able to consolidate this movement reinforced in the October 17 Lebanese Revolution, where women specifically youth, led on political organizing, planning rallies and marches, writing articles, strategizing, staffing roadblocks, and generating messaging through slogans, artwork and signs. The feminist movement that was highly centralized in the capital Beirut, was expanded by Fe-male to the two regions known for their conservatism and how they are abiding by social patriarchal norms.
Following the 3 years program Young Voices Challenging Inequality, Fe-Male continued in partnership with UN Women and Kafa and expanded the program in 2021. The program was able to mobilise youth, expand its network and support the members to lead the change.
You can check on this link full details about the project’s activities, challenges and lessons learned.[pdfviewer]https://www.fe-male.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/UN-Women-presentation-L.pdf[/pdfviewer]
After an extensive capacity development program targeting the young members over the years, Fe-Male encouraged them to translate the knowledge they acquired into action through the production of youth-led materials on feminism, human rights, and gender. Between 2019 and 2021, the young members of the feminist clubs, mentored by experts and members of Fe-Male team, conceptualized, presented and produced artworks mainly short videos and visuals tackling human rights and gender and feminist themes.
The topics of each product are related to how to break stereotypes and encounter taboos in conservative societies. The products show how Fe-Male was able to build a strong network of champions for gender equality in two regions /communities. How youth didn’t only mobilize other peers in their community but also created products that are human rights based and gender sensitive.
Check the art products produced by Fe-Male’s young feminist club members over the past 3 years.
Check the visual work on this link:[pdfviewer]https://www.fe-male.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Feminist-Clubs-Visual-prodjects-booklet.pdf[/pdfviewer]
Check the videos below:
Three Feminist Clubs members experience in a blink, by Ghadir Haidar
A movie produced by the youth feminist clubs, highlights 3 young members from the clubs experience with feminists clubs. They introduce the importance of the sessions they attended, what was the impact of their experience with Fe-Male and their projects for the future. Youth express themselves and the movie shows how 3 different profiles benefitted and gained confidence from the youth clubs.
Sexual Harassment a step forward with loopholes, by Hiba Mourad
The youth raise awareness on the sexual harassment law that was adopted by the Lebanese Parliament in December 2020 and published in the official Gazette in January 2021. The main highlights from the law are explained by a lawyer interviewed by the members of the feminist club, and through graphics.
The crisis impact on women headed families, by Khalid Darwish
Another produced material shows the impact of the hyperinflation and the price of the Lebanese lira on the lives of families headed by women, specifically divorced women.
Divorced women were perceiving a specific amount decided by the religious courts for alimony. This amount that was barely sufficient for a month, is now with the Lebanese financial crisis not even enough for a week as the youth have greatly showed in their video.
Citizenship rights and Nationality, by Joudi Fatfat and Madalya Dannoun
Youth clubs’ members have also decided to tackle in their own way the main right and biggest discrimination against Lebanese women. They showed in a movie how a Lebanese mother can’t transmit her nationality and get national identification document to her children if her husband is not a national. The movie shows the expression of rage each women face when denied her main basic right.
Using Zajal against Gender stereotypes, by Arij Shreim
The Product covered the issue of gender stereotypes and expectations from girls through “Zajal”.
Deconstructing Virginity a constraining social norm, by Adrian Maroun
The movie highlights how virginity is a social construct that is sexist and patriarchal, and requested as a constraint to body freedom by the society and families of the girls in the Arab region. It shows how youth couples are deconstructing taboos while mocking society’s sexist social norms, and deconstructing the commodification of women’s. The movie gives the last stance for a young woman who clearly exposed that her body is her right.
Rebel and Be Yourself by Zahraa Berjawi and Abbas Ibrahim
The video tackles the issue of societal pressure on young girls, from bullying to oral harassment, and verbal violence. In the video, youth wanted to show how these voices are constraining girls choices in their marital status, in work, in their relations to their bodies and choices of clothes, wearing makeup or not. The final call to action clearly states that the power over girls’ lives needs to be given to them only with a clear caption “rebel and be yourself”.
“Stop” Stereotypes and control over Women and Girls by Iman Ibrahim and Fadwa Annous
A two voices video in which two feminist club members repeat all the limits put by the society on girls wanting to break social norms, from the way they sit, to how they dress their hair, to what they wear, the sports they play etc.
The girls give clear examples of the stereotypical roles, images that traditional and conservative society assign to women and girls in our society. At the end of the video after listing all the social conservative images and norms society think are appropriate for girls and request them to abide by, Iman and Fadwa scream “Stop”. Women are Vocal for their rights and can defy tradition, mindset and break stereotypes as they wish to.
Stop Child Marriage! By Mehdi Seyit, Frozan Shaaban and Souad Hoteit
Child marriage is tackled by this video, showing a 14 years old girl prevented from enjoying her birthday cake, and instead prepared to be a wife. At her 17 years birthday the married girl is mother and has a child helping her blow her candles. The youth clearly use the hashtag “Not Before 18” for marriage in Lebanon.