The Euromed Feminist Initiative in partnership with the Equal Citizenship Center organized a two-day networking meeting on the 30th and 31st of January, 2016, for 45 lawyers in Beirut, Lebanon. The event was in the framework of the program “Preparing for an engendered constitution-building process” cofunded by the EU and Sweden. In it, lawyers who participated in a study trip to Swedish institutions shared the knowledge gained and lessons learned. A number of the sessions exemplified good case practices in regards to gender mainstreaming and equality.
Lawyers talked about the gradual transformation of Swedish legislation and the introduction of gender equality. Progress from formal to actual equality and the mechanisms to achieve the same in Syria was also a focus of the discussion. Syrians felt the need to adapt success stories to their local context when negotiations take place by deconstructing stereotypes and spreading the culture of equality in education, labour force and political representation.
Nevertheless, it was also pointed out that even a pioneering example such as Sweden is challenged to the achievement of complete gender equality by societal structural patriarchy. Presenters emphasized the role of civil society in all stages of the Syrian political transition. In the words of one of the lawyers: “While pro-regime and opposition memebrs are only concerned with power, the participation of civil society in negotiation processes would guarantee the inclusion of WR and HR in the political solution and transition.”