In Lebanon, the measures in favor of gender equality haven't been unsuccessful and the road is still long. Fortunately, activists like Anthony Keedi who's part of the Progressive Association ABAAD which fights for equality for all, are there to give us hope. This feminist is committed to take a step towards gender equality. Interview.
What led you to take an interest in the fight against violence based on gender?
I studied psychology at the American University of Beirut (AUB). I am currently responsible for the program ''Masculinities and involvement of men in gender equalty'' in Abaad, the research center for gender equality. One day I stumbled across a book called ''I don't want to talk about it". This book highlights the depression of men due to the way they're socialized. Men learn that they must be dominant and that their value lies in their ability to meet the financial needs of their families. They therefore spend their time working, and forget their role as a parent. Furthermore, the inclusion of women in the market not only reduces the stress of being the only one to provide for his family, but it also enhances women's self-esteem and contributes to the happiness of all of the family.
What is the mission of the NGO Abaad and what are your actions on the ground and your areas of intervention?
Abaad is an association that is planning to promote gender equality, through legal, juridical and social actions. In order to eradicate gender based violence, Abaad has developed 5 strategies that focus primarily on: the emancipation of women, legal reforms, protection and support of victims and survivors of violence based on gender, development of resources (manuals, publications) and training for all civil organization with similar goals to ours, and finally behavioral change to upset traditional social interactions and ways of thinking.
How to change the sexist mentality to involve men more?
Society traps men and women in stereotypical boxes. A man must be "rich" and "strong", a woman must be "good" and "conservative". When a person deviates from these stereotypes, he's immediately exposed to violence based on gender. The ideal is to create a third box named the human box that contains a set of qualities for both men and women, which should belong to every human being regardless of his gender.
Full interview available in our May issue.