Under the title “Future of Gender Equality”, the Core Program of Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development is initiating a series of sessions and workshops in order to sensitize its students and coworkers for the gender-based treatment that women face in many societies. Recently, the opening workshop had been held.
Women who made history
The Head of the Core Program, Dr. Ahmed Ghobashy, first gave a comprehensive presentation about the pioneer Egyptian feminists, who stood up for gender equality in many aspects of life. He mentioned among others, Hoda Shaarawy, who founded the the Egyptian Feminist Union in 1923. Hoda Shaarawy called for women independency and established among others a secondary school for girls in 1910 – a time at which most girls were forced to early marriage and discontinuing their educational process.
Stereotyping leads to Discrimination
Dr. Heba Nasr, the Microbiology lecturer at the Pharmacy department of Heliopolis University, then made the event interactive. She started by asking the participants to share their first impressions on displayed pictures of different-looking women. She showed for instance a photo of a lady jogging in the street – something that is quite uncommon in Egypt. As the reactions coming from the audience on that had been very different, Dr. Heba then revealed how discrimination develops. “Trapping people upon the first impression created, without a deeper knowing of their personalities, leads to unconscious bias. Hence, stereotyping is developed which is already a part of discrimination,” she concluded.
In this framework, the Core Program is supposed to launch various gender sessions, aiming to raise the awareness among the students towards gender equality – the key factor for building a sustainable community, which Heliopolis University aims to foster.