Gaza - CMC Community Media Center - September 2022
CMC Community Media Center held a conference entitled “Palestinian academies in the Gaza Strip. Rights and needs under the microscope”, which was organised as part of the activities of the second phase of the project “Promoting a culture of respect for women’s rights in academic institutions – respect them”, implemented by CMC in partnership with the German Heinrich Böll Foundation.
Nightingale Adwan, director of the CMC Community Media Center, said that the "Respect her" project aims to promote a culture of respect for women’s rights and equality in academic institutions in the Gaza Strip, by raising the awareness of university students and academics about women’s rights, empowering female academics, and establishing the Palestinian academies PAC, which was formed by CMC more than two years ago; in an attempt to create an independent feminist framework that includes female academics to defend their rights, represent their issues, and provide specialized services to them in various fields.
Kholoud Al-soualmeh, Project Manager at the Community Media Center, explained that the conference of “Palestinian academies in the Gaza Strip.. Rights and needs under the microscope” aims to study and discuss the roles of the media, feminist institutions and youth in promoting a culture of respect for women’s rights in academic institutions, in addition to presenting and discussing the study “The needs of Palestinian women academics in the Gaza Strip”.
She added: “We are seeking through the conference of Palestinian academies in the Gaza Strip.. Rights and needs under the microscope” to come up with practical recommendations that can be built on in the process of improving the academic status of women in the Gaza Strip, and to sign memorandums of understanding with a group of NGOs, in addition to enhancing the efforts exerted by all relevant parties in order to strengthen the role of academies and bridge the gender gap and discrimination practiced against academies in universities in Gaza.
The conference was attended by representatives of civil society organizations, members and board members of the Community Media Center, a number of academics and administrators at Palestinian partner universities, academics members of the Palestinian academies PAC, a group of women’s rights ambassadors, young men and women, participating in the "Respect her" project, and a number of journalists and various media institutions. The conference was held in the Phoenix hotel hall in the center of Gaza City, in addition to being broadcast live on Facebook and Instagram platforms.
In a welcoming speech, Hedaya Shimon, chairman of the board of Directors of CMC Community Media Center, opened the conference, where she welcomed the attendees, and spoke about the work of CMC Community Media Center during the stages of the "Respect her" project, its activities, its role in the establishment of the Palestinian academies PAC, as well as its efforts in supporting and promoting academic women’s rights at universities in Gaza.
In turn, Dr. Reham Helsa, representative of CMC Community Media Center partners in the “Respect her” project, at the German Heinrich Böll foundation, its goals and framework, also noted the role of the German Heinrich Böll Foundation in supporting women’s rights and gender equality. She appreciated the strategic partnership with the Community Media Center which lasts for more than ten years, and its efforts to promote a culture of respect for women’s rights and academic women in particular.
The conference included the “Palestinian academies in the Gaza Strip. Rights and needs under the microscope” screening of a short film about the activities and work of the second stage of the project “Promoting a culture of respect for women’s rights in academic institutions – respect them”. It also included two dialogue sessions, where the first session focused on the societal roles of promoting the rights of academies in society, while the second session dealt with the needs of academies in the Gaza Strip.
The first session of the conference, which included three working papers, was moderated by media consultant Shirin Khalifa, the first paper was presented by Dr. Shirin Al-dhani, where she spoke about the role of feminist institutions in supporting and enhancing the efforts of female academics in combating gender discrimination, while the second paper was presented focusing on the role of the media in promoting women’s rights in general and the rights of female academics in academic institutions in particular, while researcher Mohammed Sorour raised in his paper the role of youth in promoting a culture of respect for women’s rights in society in general and academic institutions in particular.
The papers of the first session also concluded with several recommendations, most notably, activating the principle of control and accountability in academic institutions regarding the rights of female academics, strengthening communication between the Ministry of education and higher education and academic institutions in designing programs for interventions related to issues of exclusion and discrimination against female academics, as well as neutralizing the role of political parties in university policies, avoiding hate speech in the media towards women and belittling them, searching for alternative voices establishing a dialogue and building solid bridges In addition to the adoption of the quota system by allocating at least 20% of the leadership positions in Palestinian universities to academies.
The second session was moderated by the media representative, Amani Shanino who presented a study on the needs of academies in the Gaza Strip prepared by researchers Mahmoud Abdel-Hadi and Abdel-Moneim Al-Tahrawi. In academic institutions, in addition to conducting an analytical and critical review of the two documents of the strategy to promote justice and gender equality within the framework of the national development plan, and the document of the second national plan, in addition to the academic institutions’ adoption of the participatory gender-based approach through the preparation and development of strategic plans, action programs and future interventions to improve response requirements for gender and women’s empowerment.
Within the framework of the CMC’s continuous efforts to expand and disseminate the idea of the Palestinian Women Academies Authority (PAC), enhance the horizons of joint cooperation between Palestinian female academics and civil society institutions, and activate their participation and presence in institutions, memoranda of understanding were signed with 7 NGOs.
The memorandum signing ceremony began with the participation of Dr. Reham Halaseh, representative of the German Heinrich Böll Foundation, and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the CMC Community Media Center Hedaya Shamoun, and its director Nightingale Adwan, where she signed on behalf of the Association of Culture and Free Thought, Director of the Association Maryam Zaqout, and the Women’s Affairs Center, responsible for the video program, Etimad Wehah, and the Coalition for Integrity and Accountability - AMAN, Director of the Regional Office in Gaza, Prof. Wael Balousha, and the Aisha Association for the Protection of Women and Children, Director of the Association, aReem Farina, also signed on behalf of the Center for Research, Legal Consultations and Protection for Women, Projects Director Wafaa Helles, and the Wefaq Association for the Care of Women and Children, Director of the Association, Buthaina Sobh, in addition to the Haider Abdel Shafi Health and Community Association, which was represented by the director of the association, Hatem Abu Al-Qaraya.
At the end of the conference, CMC Community Media Center honored 20 academics for their participation in a training on networking and digital marketing skills, as well as 25 young men and women from the faculties of media and law were honored for their participation in the “Respect her” training camp.
It is noteworthy that the Community Media Center (CMC) is a non-governmental organization that has been working in the Gaza Strip since 2007, seeking to develop the role of the media in addressing societal issues, promoting the values of democracy, equality and human rights culture, focusing on women and youth issues and highlighting them through various media within the existing approach on human rights.
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.