American University of Beirut

About Female Academic Role Model Empowerment, Equality and Sustainability

​​​​​Female Academic Role Model Empowerment, Equality and Sustainability at Universities in Mediterranean Region: towards 2030 Agenda

The main FREE objective is to establish capacity building in higher education institutions in three countries in the Mediterranean region: Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, through empowerment of female academics in higher education.​

Project aims and objectives

The purpose of project FREE is to establish capacity building in higher education institutions in three countries in the Mediterranean region: Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, through empowerment of female academics in higher education.

The effects of this problem have led to a generation of female academics characterized by poor managerial executive experience as well as low power dead-end jobs. The situation for female academics in particularly Syria, Lebanon and Jordan is that they lack resources to seek professional support when they are subject to different forms of discrimination. Also, effects of this situation is creating deficiency of supporting policies to increase the number of female representation at entry, mid and senior levels.

FREE aims to increase the number of female representations at senior levels in Higher Education institutions and university boards. FREE aims to establish partnership building with EU and international organization approaching towards EU and UN vision and agenda of 2030 to achieve sustainable development goals focusing on the fifth goal of achieving gender equality. In order to achieve the objectives of EU and UN sustainable development goals and agenda 2030 specifically gender equality, FREE aims to initiate this approach enhancing gender equality and female empowerment in higher education in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. This will be achieved through partnership building and promoting EU social and organizational values and practices in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.

Project wider objectives

The purpose of this project is to enhance the role of female academics in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria through increasing the number of women present in decision-making bodies and in academic and management positions. The project aims to contribute to improving management and operation of higher education by promoting a culture of gender egalitarianism, female leadership role model, and empowerment. The project aims to contribute to democratization of higher education by empowering female academics.

Specific Objectives

  • Empowering female academics and professionals at LB, JR and SY target HEIs through series of training workshop
  • Improving management and operation of HE through introduction of equality and sustainability centers and services at LB JR and SY HEIs
  • Development of research and innovation through network of research in Gender Issues at LB, JR and SY project HEIs

Project activities and methodology

The project work packages are designed in a pooled, sequential, and reciprocal levels of interdependence to facilitate effective implementation of the project. Project partners share resources and responsibilities for the effective implementation of the project (i.e project website, documents, supportive material in EACEA web site). Level of interdependence is sequential, where project partners share responsibilities of implementation of project activities and one project member outcome is another project member input. Some work packages require reciprocal level of team interdependence where different team members share mutual responsibilities to perform assigned tasks.

FREE is designed on problem and solution approaches. FREE addresses the problem of female academics which is characterized by very low percentages of representation of women at mid and senior levels at HEIs in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. The problem tree establishes a set of direct and indirect causes and effects of the problem. The solution tree approach positivizes the direct and indirect causes and effects. The direct causes become project specific objectives, the indirect causes are deigned to be project activities, the direct effects are project outputs and outcomes and indirect effects are designed to be the impact of the project.

The project direct beneficiaries and target groups are:

  • Female academics at entry, mid and senior levels.
  • Executives and senior managers
  • Functional and mid-level managers
  • Executive managers and decision makers
  • Undergraduate students
  • Young entrepreneurs​

Expected impact of the project

The individual and immediate impact level is illustrated through (1) increased human capacity of female academics and professionals including technical, digital, interpersonal and executive leadership skills; (2) increased organizational power of female academics and professionals and ability to apply soft and hard influence tactics in the workplace without total dependence on authority and position power; (3) increased number of academic researchers in the scope of gender issues and sustainability; (4) increased number of trained students with employability skills. The target groups FREE focuses on are academics, students, administrative, functional, mid and senior level managers and executives at HEIs at LB, JR, & SY. The aim of project FREE is to reach the groups though the design of training workshops in the scope of digital and employability skills, executive leadership and gender equality and sustainability. The training workshops will be held during 2nd and 3rd year of life of project at AIU, DU, AUB, LU, MUBS, PSUT and UOP.​

The organizational impact and short term level is illustrated through (1) improved management organizational structures of partner countries HEIs through the establishment of equality and sustainability centres; (2) increased institution scientific capacity through the development of academic research focusing of gender equality, empowerment and sustainability in higher education; (3) increased regional and international experience acquired through project scope and networking experience with project regional and international partners. FREE has an impact on institutional level through enhancing management systems and university services. The equality and sustainability centres are predicted to have a positive impact of academic's career satisfaction and students' academic satisfaction with the quality of teaching and services, as well as their personal development. FREE is predicted to have a positive impact through boosting research in Gender and Sustainability. It is estimated that a significant increase in the number of research publication in gender and sustainability issues will occur in 7 partner country institutions across LB, JR and SY. FREE is also estimated to increase the number of female managers and directors at senior and executive levels. FREE has an immediate impact on its stakeholders and its local community including female academics and students, professionals and managers and executives from peer universities, as well unions and NGOs. FREE will target its stakeholders through awareness workshops during the 2nd and 3rd years of project life. ​​

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