BEIRUT: "Know your place;" A sentence used to silence, categorize and belittle women’s capabilities.
On November 5th 2018, Know your place (KYP), was launched to remind women of their power to determine what their "place" is.
“We have created a safe haven where women are fully embraced and empowered. We are building a community where women are leaders of their own lives,” said Samah Hamawi, co-founder of KYP NGO.
The patriarchal system we live in have instilled the idea that women are not complete on their own; they need a man- be it a brother, husband, or father- to support or make them feel whole. This mentality gives men the upper hand in society and crams women into a small corner discouraging them from rising up.
“I grew up in a house where my mother always told me that we couldn’t achieve our dreams because we don’t have the family’s main support; a man. Long story short, my siblings and I were capable of fulfilling our goals regardless,” Hamawi told Annahar.
KYP strongly believes in reaching a level of equality between both genders. Dedicated to its purpose, it works on perforating change through transforming mentalities.
“How can we secure equality when a considerable part of the society stands against it? The initiatives carried out by KYP welcome participants from both genders. Men need to be aware that women are free, qualified, and fierce to take on any role they desire,” Hamawi explained.
Following their motto "inspire and be inspired," the KYP community created a bimonthly event titled Unspoken. Women are encouraged to share their success stories and their journey towards inner happiness and self-satisfaction. The storytelling event usually tackles 3 topics: Dominating a male-dominant job, accomplishing independent financial security, and breaking gender norms.
“Whether the story is the road to a successful career or a journey with self-worth, it takes courage to stand up and speak your narrative to an audience you are not really familiar with,” Hamawi said.
Through their monthly Untaught Workshops, the community is striving to create a society where women anchor on independence and excellence. KYP took a step further and broke traditional gender roles by educating women on necessary skills that are thought to be too "masculine" by society. Recently, KYP threw a mechanics workshop to teach women how to change car tires and oil tanks. This workshop was given by Lebanon’s first female driver, Vanessa Rady.
“The Untaught Workshops also include negotiation and public speaking skills. All of which are pivotal in teaching women how to take charge,” Hamawi elaborated.
KYP has also recently launched its newest initiative: The Network; a platform created where women of different ages and professions get introduced to one another. Women are encouraged to build each other up by giving advice, employing, and mostly supporting one another.
“Around 4 people from our KYP community are now working together. The Network is a great way to befriend people, especially women, who think like you and want to progress in life,” Hamawi told Annahar.
KYP’s vision board includes a short-term goal to introduce a 3-month training Leadership program. As for their long-term goal, they plan on expanding their spectrum to involve women living in Lebanese areas outside Beirut.
Welcome to “NAYA,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations. NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.firstname.lastname@example.org
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