Gender stereotypes have drastically been seen to impair and obstruct women and girls all around the world. This disparity that’s based on gender impedes the careers of women and makes it difficult for them to advance and prosper in some fields or disciplines.
In September 2021, the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship (AI), and in partnership with the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) and UNESCO, developed and implemented a project that addresses gender stereotypes affecting women and girls in different fields through showcasing the success of 20 females from the MENA region in a widespread social media campaign.
This project, “Role Models for Girls and Young Women in the Arab Region”, took around 5 months to finalize, and it was officially launched in the month of January 2022 on different social media platforms.
The aim of the project was to exhibit the work of 20 female role models and shed light on their unique and distinct success stories so that young women and girls could get inspired and motivated to pursue their dream careers while countering and fighting for the elimination of career-related gender stereotypes.
The 20 pioneers that were part of this campaign came from different parts of the Arab world, including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Palestine. They also worked in distinct fields such as STEM, sports, arts, law, and business. This diversity amongst the 20 female pioneers firmly validates that women and girls can thrive and succeed in any desired field as long as they believe in their capabilities and are willing to confront gender stereotypes and other challenges.
This regional storytelling campaign reached more than 80,000 users on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The stories of these influential women were shared on the social media platforms of AI, AUB, and IFI in the form of a podcast, blogs, and videos.
The objective of this campaign goes beyond just highlighting the journey and careers of women pioneers it aims to alter existing and/or emerging career-related gender stereotypes in a constructive and positive manner. The campaign intended to share the lived experiences of those 20 females in the belief of the effect of knowledge sharing amongst people.
Women and girls can and will defy any barriers that stand in their way of thriving in all male-dominated fields. What it takes to alter the status quo is a change in the way people think about specific fields as being more suitable and relevant for men and only men. This social media campaign highlighted the success stories of only 20 women in the MENA region, but there remain other women and girls that are silently overcoming career-related gender stereotypes and proving that gender has nothing to do with what you can achieve.
The stories are available in English and Arabic here.
About the author
Rena Haidar is an intern at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship. Rena is a political science and international affairs senior student at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut, Lebanon. She has been working in the civil society sector for over a year and a half and is currently working as a Programme Associate with the Centre for Social Science Research and Action.