Ask an Activist: What do you think is the role of youth in ending violence against women and girls?

Date: Thursday, April 25, 2019

About the author

Hayat Mirshad. Photo: UN Women/Emad Karim

Hayat Mirshad is a Lebanese feminist activist. In 2012, she initiated the first-ever feminist radio programme in Lebanon “Sharika wa Laken” (A Partner Not Yet Equal), where she remains as one of the web and content managers. She is a co-founder and co-director at FE-MALE, a non-profit feminist collective, and head of communications and campaigning at the Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering- RDFL, a women’s rights organization working for gender equality in Lebanon for more than 40 years. She is also a member of UN Women’s Youth Gender Innovation Agora. Hayat attended the Regional Youth Forum on Ending Violence against Women supported by the Government of Japan

Youth are the catalyst for a better future. We need to invest in youth who are committed to the development and advancement of their communities especially around the agenda of achieving gender equality and eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. Youth need to use their voices and capacities for the sake of these causes, through advocating for women’s rights, calling on their governments to pass laws that protect women and girls from Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and through making a positive change within their families and networks.

As a Gender Innovation Agora member and an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights in my community, I lead advocacy campaigns to challenge current inequalities, deliver trainings, conduct awareness-raising sessions and contribute to strengthen the feminist movement in Lebanon. In order to end violence against women in the Arab States region, we need to invest in women and youth led organizations working on the local level, give youth a place on the table in the national, regional and global level and call on decision-makers to reform policies.

Events such as the Regional Youth Workshop on Ending Violence against Women and Girls are an important opportunity for young people to come together, plan, organize and contribute to shape the interventions and work on gender issues especially in relation to ending violence against women and girls in the Arab States region.