In most countries, women and girls go through different struggles on several levels, from the rigid structure of the patriarchal community to discriminating laws and the exclusion of women from decision making bodies. These struggles don’t end there. The fight of these women becomes extremely difficult and complicated in countries like Syria and Lebanon, where past and ongoing conflicts generate ethnic and sectarian schisms, and cause economic and humanitarian crises manifested in the migration and refuge of millions, mostly women and children. These women find themselves between the hammer and the anvil, between fighting for their legal rights against constant threats of conservative social norms and exclusionary political forces, and the fight for their basic rights to life, safety, dignity and work.
Hence, during this humanitarian crisis, local feminist organizations continue to work in Syria and Lebanon on responding to the dire reality with limited local resources and inconsistent international funding. In different areas where this response has succeeded or failed, and given that a deep structural change requires time and joint international and local efforts, these organizations continue to work relentlessly to empower and support women in confronting these realities gradually.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic amidst poor local and international preparedness amplified the difficulty and complexity of these realities. Shortly after many women overcame hardships and joined the public sphere with new gender roles, they were forced back into the private sphere, confined with no adequate support.This crisis highlighted the necessity of adapting our activities and identifying our urgent response to this emergency. In order to have an adequate response, we found it essential to conduct a study to identify the disproportionate impacts on women and girls as well as to identify their current needs.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.