Empow(H)er: Defending Women Leaders

In December we organized a capacity building training with Liberal International called Empow(H)er: Defending women leaders held in Marrakech. We discussed how women can defend themselves against violence and harassment (in the political field), how to defend yourself digitally, looking how to implement policies and more.

The first day

Ten participants from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Canada and The Netherlands gathered in Marrakech. All from different countries and different parties or organizations. Each with their own background and experience to talk about violence against women in politics.

Beeld: D66

The participants were welcomed by Irene Wang from Liberal International and Loes ten Dolle from D66. Soon the participants got to know each other and started working on a risk and resource mapping session. Khadija el Morabit was the session leader where, in groups, the participants looked at the risk of violence and harassment within their organization and in politics in general. They also looked at the resources available (laws, policies and people) in their organization and personal life.

Loes ten Dolle, party leader of D66 Winterswijk, gave a great session about digital self-defense. She talked about her own experience as woman in politics and the criticism and risk she faced. And how the participants can act when they are in these situations. Important to speak up and ask others to speak up for you!

Beeld: D66

After a coffee break there was a panel discussion following a roundtable session. The session was moderated by Khadija el Morabit and present in the panel were Loes ten Dolle, Katie Beelaerts and Fedwa Misk, a Moroccan author, playwright and screenwriter. The topic of the panel discussion was ”Leading feminist change: challenging culture and talking to men about gendered violence.” Each speaker brought a different perspective on this topic.

During the roundtable session the participants and speakers spoke more in depth about topics such as putting women on the agenda, talking about women in security, reporting harassment and talking about sexism.

Beeld: D66

I am writing to share my personal experience with YWF’s latest training, Empow(h)er: defending women leaders, which was held in Marrakech.

It was a truly enriching and meaningful experience for me, as it was inspiring to see strong women from around the globe excelling in their respective fields.

One aspect of the training that I found particularly valuable was the digital self-defense session, which addressed the political roles of women and the common challenges they face on digital platforms.
We not only discussed these challenges, but also developed tangible solutions to address them.
Overall, the training was more than beneficial and has left a lasting impact on me.
As I reflect on my time at Empow(h)er, I am reminded of the importance of supporting and uplifting women leaders in all fields.
We have the power to effect change and make a positive impact in the world, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this empowering training.
Sincerely, Lujain Jarrah

The second day

The day started with a visit to the local politicians of Mouvement Populaire in Marrakech. Present were Aziza Boujrida, Member of Parliament, and other local female politicians. It was great to see how much Mouvement Populaire encouraged women to go into politics. They even have a list with only women on it for the municipal.

Back in the meeting room Katie Beelaerts, advisor to the minister of defense, gave an interactive workshop on building inclusive policies. Every duo had roles assigned and they had to put themselves into the perspective of the role they had. In this interactive session a lot of debating, discussions and one-on-one conversations took place.

Closing remarks were given by Hakima el Haité, president of Liberal International. She gave an inspiring speech on her personal experience as a women in politics and encouraged the participants on their personal ambitions in politics and keep advocating for more women into politics. She awarded each of the participants with a certificate on participating in the programme. The goodbye dinner was a great moment to reflect on each participant’s experience and what they take away from this training. Overall it was an incredible informative, inspiring and uplifting weekend.