UNICEF Lebanon and Generation Unlimited - empowering a young generation to support women in society

“Women in Lebanon are an active and valuable capital for the future of this country. We need to be allowed to show this. It’s time to give women a chance. We can do it”.

Simon Balsom
To the left Samar Abdulghani 21 to the right Yara Fadlallah 23
UNICEF/Lebanon 2019/Stephen Gerard Kelly

25 February 2019

Together For Women

with Samar and Yara from Tripoli

Changing perceptions and challenging society through the realization of a very straightforward entitlement to freedom lies at the heart of Samar and Yara's ambition. Business management students at the Lebanese University in Tripoli, both have grown within a society they feel no longer serves the needs of its women. Held back by the traditions and, as they insist, unfounded fears of their parents’ generation, it is time someone came along and shook things up – even if just a little.

“We’ve been at school from the age of three. By any standards, we believe we are well educated - but we've been taught within a system that restricts the female half of the population. Even at school, from some of our teachers, they try to persuade us that we shouldn’t strive to be a manager. It’s not a woman’s role.

It must be difficult for most people to comprehend the challenges faced on a daily basis living life as a woman in Lebanon in 2018. There are so many challenges across much of our society today, and we’re not equipped to tackle them all – but one area we identified as being ripe for a fresh look was transportation.

Our solution is simple – to introduce women-only taxi services. The driver will be a woman, and the passengers only women. The service we propose will facilitate the daily opportunities of every woman’s life.

To the left Samar Abdulghani 21 to the right Yara Fadlallah 23
UNICEF/Lebanon 2019/Stephen Gerard Kelly

We know of women who have received jobs offers away from their hometown, but through family and societal pressure they don't feel able to travel using public transport. Nor do they feel ready to get into a regular taxi with a male driver. Like we said… it's hard for most people to imagine living like this.

Our solution is simple – to introduce women-only taxi services. The driver will be a woman, and the passengers only women. The service we propose will facilitate the daily opportunities of every woman’s life.

Women in Lebanon are an active and valuable capital for the future of this country. We need to be allowed to show this. It’s time to give women a chance. We can do it”.

The inspiration for this is found within our own lives. We are restricted in our movements. We have been prevented from achieving our potential for the silliest of reasons. Imagine just how many young women’s lives can we change this way!

Even our drivers will be role models. They’ll need to be strong. They’ll need to be prepared to stand up against gender stereotyping. But this is our generation’s time, and we have women amongst us with the strength to do precisely these things. We have women in the army now. Who would have imagined this happening not so long ago?

Women in Lebanon are an active and valuable capital for the future of this country. We need to be allowed to show this. It’s time to give women a chance. We can do it”.