TLS Program Instills Gender Justice Among LAU Students
While stereotypes evoke that STEM studies are perceived as male domains, the relatively high ratio of female students at the School of Engineering at LAU proves that high competency is far from being linked to gender-science stereotype.
Perla Saliba, Charbel El Khoury, Alain El Hajj, Charbel Hanna, and Luna El Hosri, all majoring in Mechanical Engineer, were among the selected LAU students to join MEPI Tomorrow’s Leaders Gender Studies Program (TLS). While having a growing passion for engineering, the TLS program has driven their attention to social, political, and economic interests and outcomes.
After successfully completing the Fall 2020 Semester, Saliba, El Khoury, El Hajj, Hanna and El Hosri teamed up and worked on their very first gender-based research paper under the title of “Lebanese Law and Gender Inequality”. The team addressed the discriminatory aspect of some of the main Lebanese laws including Rape and Sexual harassment, Citizenship, Honor killing, Civil marriage, and Divorce and Custody, and proposed adequate solutions such as integrating gender-sensitive education most importantly through schools and then through universities and communities at large.
A cohort of Engineering students who had major concerns about the gendered material and gender issues, discovered through their learning not only to become aware of the stereotypes but also to support it by evidence-based knowledge and to become more active in working towards including a gender lens in some Engineering courses and the students’ leaders and future career training. Perla, Charbel, Alain, Hanna, and Luna got straight to the legal sector that institutionalizes cultural traits and behaviors into laws and precedents such as the marital rape law. They discussed that although transformation has to happen in the hearts and minds of people. but what is most important is institutionalizing changes that ensure women’s rights in issues related to civil marriage, rape, divorce, and related topics into newly reformed laws to ensure and enforce gender equality.
« The TLS experience was highly enlightening and efficient at the same time as our knowledge of our own Lebanese laws was deficient. TLS program was a wake-up call that led us to be informed of the current living conditions of some women in Lebanon and an eye-opening opportunity to be aware of the critical and large scope of the problem, » affirms the team.