First Person: Gender Equality in Jordan

Discussing gender equality in Jordan can lead to difficult conversations, as Balqees Shahin, a volunteer for UN Women’s gender equality campaign HeforShe, found. To mark International Girls’ Day on Monday, Ms. Shahin told UN News that online gaming can help young people address gender issues. HeForSheBalqees Shahin is a volunteer at HeforShe in Jordan Balqees Shahin is a volunteer at HeforShe in Jordan, from HeForShe

“I was raised by a single mother who lost her husband when she was just 28, raised four children, managed to study, graduate, work and raise us well! She also faced a lot of discrimination and obstacles.

My mother inspired me to rely on myself and I’ve been studying, working and volunteering since I was 17.

For more than three years I have been volunteering in the fields of health systems, communication, youth engagement and gender equality, both for the UN and for other organizations in Jordan. I was able to feed myself 100 percent.

Growing up in a family that supports women was a major asset to my ambition to become a gender equality advocate in Jordan, especially when we launched the WeRise campaign. It meant that I found it easier to express my opinions and beliefs regardless of the hatred I received from those around me (especially from men).

Volunteering at HeForShe changed my life and opened up a world of opportunity. It helped me secure the scholarship for my Masters in Public Health and do a six month internship at the UN Women Jordan office.

In this region, it is difficult to discuss gender equality or an issue that contradicts people’s beliefs. But with consistency and passion, a person can achieve anything they want, no matter how difficult it is.

Break down barriers

Making gender equality attractive is not an easy process. We encountered many barriers, not just from older adults, but also from peers in our own age group, especially during the HeForShe university tours. We have attended all universities in Jordan, but we have faced many condemnatory rejections and even hatred. On the other hand, we won a lot of supporters.

The WeRise project started during my internship at the UN and I was involved in the planning and implementation. My team members and I wondered what it would be like if we introduced gender equality in all areas of our lives. We came up with the idea of ​​a platform with a gaming element that encourages gamers to discuss various topics related to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The whole initiative was started in Jordan by young volunteers. This is much more than a game; it’s a game with a purpose. We want to make it bigger and accessible to all to allow younger generations to interact with the principles of gender equality through games. So … let’s get up! “

HeForShe Arabic The team behind the WeRise app, a HeForShe project, in Jordan.

We climb

  • WeRise can be downloaded here in the Apple Store and for Android here.
  • The app was created in collaboration with UN Women and with the support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • An important feature of the app is the “WeRise” community, a special area within the game that encourages players to use prompts such as podcasts, competitions, news, articles and other learning resources.
  • The app also includes an events section that promotes initiatives aimed at young people organized at both national and international levels. After two successful university tours, the HeforShe movement will use the app in a series of virtual open days organized in collaboration with Jordanian schools.

Visit UN News for more.

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