Friday December 4th, 2015, Head of the Lebanese organization of Studies and Trainings (LOST), Doctor Ramy Lakkis, Representatives from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Peter Rimmele and Hana Nasser, along with 80 women participants from the project "Promoting Women’s Role in Political Participation in Baalbek” gathered at LOST Headquarters in Baalbek to hear Lamia El-Husseini speak about her experience as a women in a man's' world.
"Promoting Women's Role in Political Participation in Baalbek" is an initiative giving women the tools needed to indulge in all levels of society; from politics to community service. This movement is to foster social change and increase the engagement of women in everyday decision making.
Peter Rimmele, the German resident representative for KAS and head of the rule of law program in the Middle East, gave a short speech on the importance of being active in the community. Rimmele said, "The sky is the limit for the women of Baalbek". Rimmele emphasized the importance for women to take advantage of the rights they have. Being engaged in the community will benefit the community; women should be part of the joint-decision making process that aids in the development of society. He said, "We don't want all of you to be Angela Merkel, but the opportunities to make a difference in your society are there and ready for you to grasp; be part of the public affairs in your community".
Regional Head of Education in Baalbek-Hermel, Lamia El-Husseini, agreed with Rimmele and added that equal rights for women should be considered nothing less than basic human rights. Husseini said women in Lebanon and internationally have been successful business women, doctors, reporters, and have managed to fit their societal roles as mothers and wives. Society should not define how far women go in life.
So many women have suffered from sexist views and the double-standards imposed upon women to conform to. So many have been denied their basic human rights of getting an education, working and even participating in public affairs due to the patriarchal mindset that the outside world is made only for men. What's most disheartening is when women buy into the ideas that men are dominant over women, allowing the system to define their roles, and raising their daughters with the skewed ideologies. Husseini said upbringing impacts the future mindset of the children. When raising boys and girls, they both need to know from a young age that they are equal and have a place in society.
"We should only wear the roles defined by us, not by society", Husseini said.