Lebanon Just Launched First International Feminist Festival in the Middle East

The Lebanese revolution has given a more expansive space for feminist movements to press further for their demands for equality.

Institut Français du Liban along with the Joumana Haddad Freedoms Center just launched the first edition of the International Feminism Festival on February 27th at Beit Beirut.

The festival was held for three consecutive days, covering films, theatrical performances, workshops, and discussions highlighting women’s status in the Middle East, and the history of feminism in the light of recent events.

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#FIF2020LB – Pour la première fois au Proche-Orient, L’Institut français du Liban, @joumanahaddadfc, Lebanon Support, @ai4women et l’@ispliban de l’Université Saint-Joseph présentent Le Festival International des Féminismes. Cette manifestation inédite, entièrement dédiée à l’histoire, aux enjeux et aux défis multiples auxquels sont confrontées les femmes dans le monde vise à prolonger et à inscrire dans la durée l’engagement des femmes dans le monde arabe, devenu visible à la faveur des révolutions et d’une forte montée de leur parole publique dans l’espace numérique. Quatre jours pour écouter, débattre et assister à des spectacles, du 27 février au 1er mars à l’Institut français du Liban, à Beit Beirut et à Station Beirut, dans une ambiance festive. L’opportunité unique de découvrir et de rendre hommage à toutes ces femmes qui font entendre leurs voix et montent au créneau pour faire valoir leurs droits. ——————————————————- للمرة الأولى في العالم العربي والشرق الأوسط، ينظم كلٌّ من المركز الفرنسي في لبنان، مركز جمانة حداد للحريات، مركز دعم لبنان، المعهد العربي للمرأة ومعهد العلوم السياسية في جامعة القديس يوسف: المهرجان العالمي للنسويات. يشكل المهرجان العالمي للنسويات حدثاً غير مسبوق في العالم العربي ومنطقة الشرق الأوسط، مخصصاً للتحديات المتعددة التي واجهتها ولا تزال تواجهها المرأة في جميع أنحاء العالم عموماً، وفي العالم العربي خصوصاً، كما لتاريخ القضايا النسوية ورهاناتها الحالية. يهدف المهرجان إلى ترسيخ نضالات المرأة في العالم العربي، وهي نضالات أصبحت أكثر بروزاً خلال الثورات الأخيرة، ومع ارتفاع أصوات النساء في الفضاء الرقمي. يتواصل المهرجان العالمي للنسويات طوال أربعة أيام يمكن خلالها متابعة النقاشات ومشاهدة العروض في جو احتفالي، من ٢٧ شباط إلى ١ آذار في المركز الفرنسي في لبنان. وهو يشكل فرصة فريدة لاكتشاف النساء اللواتي يطلقن سراح أصواتهن للمطالبة حقوقهن، ولتكريمهنّ.

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The French Ambassador to Lebanon, Bruno Foucher, initiated the event that was attended by guests from several countries.

According to Ambassador Foucher, even though this event highlights women’s rights, women still have a long way to go to get their basic rights in Lebanon, especially when it comes to personal status.

As the author and activist Joumana Haddad told the Daily Star, “there’s a lot of discrimination and injustice, and that needs to change.”

It is 2020 and women’s rights are still lacking, not only in Lebanon but in the entire Western world. This event is important to the entire Lebanese society and genders. It is for “all human beings who are interested in justice and human dignity,” Haddad asserted.

The feminist movement got the needed push from the Lebanese revolution. “One of the main sources of inspiration came from the thawra,” director of the Institut du Français du Liban Véronique Aulagnon said in an interview with The Daily Star.

“It was in line with what people are interested in today and because women were at the forefront,” she added.

Gender inequality remains an impairment to the Lebanese society. Lack of female participation in society, politics, and the economy is largely due to social norms.

Lebanese women have long been limited to bloom to their full potential in contributing to the best of their country because of discrimination.

Not only that, but Lebanese laws in sectarian courts have also been harmful to mothers and their children in cases of divorce and marriage annulment; as seen in the recent case of Lina Jaber.

In addition to that, we cite the unfair laws that forbid Lebanese mothers to pass on their nationality to their kids if they are not married to Lebanese men, denying them as such the basic biological reality of their DNA.

Lebanon needs many urgent reforms in regard to women’s rights. The Revolution has come at a time when the sufferings of the people, including Lebanese mothers and Lebanese women, have reached an unbearable level. Changes must be made.

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