Montana International College (MIC) organized in March a conference on women’s rights in collaboration with the UN Information Centre in Beirut as part of highlighting Goal 5 of the SDGs.
The conference, entitled, “Gender Equity and Equality: Inspiring Actions in a Vibrant Network”, was held in the presence of Lebanese Minister of Women's Affairs Jean Oghassabian, who also granted his patronage to the event.
The conference attracted government officials, community leaders, women’s rights activists, UN organizations, as well as MIC professors, students and their parents. It aimed at consolidating the understanding of gender equality and equity among students, parents and their community, raising awareness about the active role women can play in the social and political life and gathering efforts of NGOs, corporates and activist towards this unified mission.
Oghassabian said in his statement that assuming the post of Minister of Women’s Affairs was in itself very challenging. He praised Lebanese women and encouraged them to be active in their societies. “I believe in women’s capacities. Women should play a role in the political life and be part of the government and Parliament as well,” he added. “We want a diverse and free Lebanon, where peace, love and prosperity prevail,” Oghassabian said.
Sonia Ilias, Gender-Based Violence Coordinator at the United Nations Population Fund in Lebanon, for her part, said that when women are given the opportunity to fulfill their goals, they would certainly contribute to the country’s socio-economic development. “Lebanese women have made progress at many levels; however, women’s representation in decision-making reform and peace processes remains low,” she added. Ilias said that UNFPA in Lebanon is working on activating women’s role and ensuring her rights through the various partnerships they establish on empowering women and girls’ conflict resolution skills and decision-making at the local and national levels.
Ghada Semaan, MIC Principal, strongly valued the school’s partnership with UNIC Beirut and commended all the support the Centre is providing, especially information related to the SDGs. She said that exerting joint efforts by various parties could make a positive difference in individuals’ lives and the environment they work in. She added that the diversity in MIC reinforced staff values of respect and appreciation of gender-based differences.