Stories

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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 243 million women and girls globally were abused by their intimate partners in the past year. Since the pandemic, with lockdowns measures, countries around the world have seen an alarming rise in reporting on violence against women, especially domestic violence.
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Growing up in Syria, Malak Farran wanted to study law and become a lawyer. At 17, she married a Syrian man and moved to neighboring Lebanon, where her husband was employed, putting a halt to her dream of practicing law.
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In the aftermath of the Beirut Port explosion on August 4, women in female-headed households, living within the explosion range, are suffering increased vulnerability. The effects of economic turmoil, greater risks of gender-based violence and the constant struggle to access assistance are highlighted in a new study, “Rapid Gender Analysis of the August Beirut Port Explosion: An Intersectional Examination,” by ABAAD, CARE International, ESCWA, UNFPA, and UN Women.
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On 4 August 2020, 85-year-old Violette Machaalany was alone at home with her granddaughter, Elodie, when two explosions hit Beirut’s main port. The blast killed hundreds, displaced thousands and destroyed entire neighbourhoods, including Karantina, 2.2 Km away, where Violette has lived her entire life.
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Elderly people have been identified as one of the most vulnerable groups to the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping them safe has become both a priority and a challenge for governments around the world. In times where health systems are overstretched and healthcare workers are overwhelmed, Rim Al Khalif, a Syrian refugee, is improving her skills to care for elderly patients in Tripoli, Lebanon.
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One of UN Women’s partner on the ground, the Restart Center, is providing treatment, psychosocial support and distributing medicine to the most vulnerable.
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Layal Mahfouz, 32, is a Lebanese nurse living in Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon. Originally from Koura in the north of Lebanon, she has been working at the Social Services Medical Center for the elderly in Tripoli for 11 years. As part of her work, Layal provides nursing care for patients and manages employees at the Centre.
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Young women and men volunteers cook meals for families affected by the Beirut explosion prep food in Mairo’s kitchen in Sin El Fil, Beirut. Photo: Dar Al-Musawir/Ramzi Haidar for UN Women
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Reeling from deep economic crisis, COVID-19, and now the blasts, Lebanon needs women at the centre of recovery plans.
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Ihsan Hatab, from Beirut, was 13 years old when the doctors diagnosed her with Stargardt disease, a genetic eye disorder that causes visual impairment. Now, at 29 years old, and with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, this Lebanese woman is getting ready to launch her own business in photography and filmmaking after joining a photography training supported by UN Women and the Safadi Foundation, with the generous support of the Government of Japan.
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In Lebanon, a forthcoming UN Women study finds that the effect of the current economic contraction on women’s overall employment in Lebanon is estimated to result in a 14-19% reduction in women’s employment. In a country where the rate of women’s labour market participation stands at  29% , this estimate is of significant concern.
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As COVID-19 impacts parents around the world, sharing the care work is critical. This Palestinian couple living in a refugee camp in Lebanon shows how it’s done.
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Years of collective mobilization, strategizing and innovation by women’s rights groups culminated in the repeal or reform of archaic laws across the Northern Africa and Western Asia region
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The National Commission for Lebanese Women, represented by its President Mrs. Claudine Aoun Roukoz, signed today a memorandum of understanding with UN Women, represented by its Head in Lebanon and Country Programme Manager, Ms. Rachel Dore-Weeks, at the NCLW’s premises in Hazmieh and in the presence of NCLW’s members and UN Women’s team.
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Hayat Mirshad is a Lebanese feminist activist. In 2012, she initiated the first-ever feminist radio programme in Lebanon “Sharika wa Laken” (A Partner Not Yet Equal), where she remains as one of the web and content managers. She is a co-founder and co-director at FE-MALE, a non-profit feminist collective, and head of communications and campaigning at the Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering- RDFL, a women’s rights organization working for gender equality in Lebanon for more than 40 years. She is also a member of UN Women’s Youth Gender Innovation Agora. Hayat attended the Regional Youth Forum on Ending Violence against Women supported by the Government of Japan
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After some resistance from her husband, Ibtissam Jaber joined Yanouh cooperative in rural South Lebanon. Jaber, a mother of seven, loves producing traditional agro-foods and believes in the importance of contributing to her household’s income. By selling her products at food exhibitions across the country, she has now transitioned from being a small-scale producer to a profitable entrepreneur.
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Through participatory theatre performances using acting and puppetry, women and men are speaking up to claim their rights, with some going on to become community mobilizers.
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Wedged between prolonged conflict on both its northern and southern borders with Syria and Israel, respectively, Lebanon has endured immense stress over the past several decades.
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On the heels of Jordan and Tunisia scrapping discriminatory rape laws, the Lebanese Parliament agreed on 16 August, to abolish the Penal Code Article 522, the infamous “rape law” or “rape-marriage” law, which exempted a rapist from punishment if he married his victim.
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In its highly anticipated parliamentary election in almost ten years, Lebanon saw a record number of women on the ballot. An unprecedented 113 women registered as candidates, and 86 of them made it to candidate lists. This was a whopping increase from 2009, when only 12 women candidates had registered.