I am Generation Equality: Lana Ghneim, gender equality advocate

Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilise, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.

I am Generation Equality because…

I’ve seen inequality through my own eyes. I saw differences in the way families would treat their daughters versus their sons. I heard people say, “You’re a girl. You can’t do that.” I saw women leaving their education because they got married, or were forced into marriage, and I felt that it was wrong.

I became an activist when I started to volunteer. Working with international organisations like AIESEC, Erasmus+, and HeForShe taught me the importance of making a positive impact in people’s lives. I became more aware of inequalities among genders and social classes and began to try to change the world around me.

It’s rewarding to be able to make an impact in people’s lives, to change their point of view on a topic, and it pushes me to do more.

Making gender equality the norm

Raising awareness about women’s rights has to be a joint effort. For a long time, men have seen women as objects and believed they have the power to control what women do, think, and wear. This mentality of ownership must change.

Men have to see women as equals; there’s no difference between us. We have to lift each other up.

It’s important to begin teaching gender equality to younger generations through education and media campaigns. People need to be exposed to these messages regularly; normalising gender equality is one of the most important issues in Jordan.

Leveling the playing field

n Jordan, women are expected to give part of their salary to their family, which inhibits their independence. A woman is expected to prioritize family life above all else. She is expected to leave behind her career for her family, regardless of her passions, potential, or dreams. Men are never expected to do that.

We can transform these unequal social dynamics through laws and policies, such as offering both parents [paid] leave to care for a child and providing childcare at the workplace. These changes make a difference in women’s lives and can have a big impact.

My message for women in Jordan is to educate themselves about their rights and don’t be afraid to fight for them. If we don’t push for change now, future generations will face the same challenges. Women should also know that they have support. If one woman stands up, the international community will stand with her.

Lana Ghneim, 23, from Jordan, is a member of the HeForShe campaign in Jordan, a solidarity movement for the advancement of gender equality led by UN Women. Ghneim has recently graduated as a Pharmacist from the Al-Zaytoonah University in Amman, Jordan.