Here’s a hypothetical scenario. There has been an accident – your husband fell at work and needs to go to the hospital. However, the National Social Security Law does not cover his medical expenses because he is self-employed. You think it won’t matter, because you are covered by your employer and your medical insurance can support him, right?
Wrong. Your national insurance is useless. You know why? Because you are a woman. Yet if it was the other way around and you had the accident, your husband’s national insurance would cover your medical expenses.
Haifa Banna did not know this before participating in our campaign called Hakkik Daman Ayltek (It is your right to be able to provide social security coverage to your family) – and in fact, most women and men in Lebanon don’t know either. A journalist by trade, Haifa recently made a short film about a Lebanese couple struggling with the issue of medical coverage, in order to raise awareness about the inequality that’s embedded in the law and advocate for its amendment. She became deeply engaged in our campaign by participating in discussions between civil society groups and the media.
“I didn’t know how unequal the Lebanese National Social Security Law was before I saw the Hakkik Daman Ayltek campaign. As a journalist, I can use media to support women. That is what media should do; push women to get out there.”
The campaign was organized by Lebanese women’s rights organizations, with the support of our Lebanon team and ALEF – Act for Human Rights. Haifa explains how everyone would stand to gain if the law was amended: “Men would gain equally if the law was changed, because in the end it is about family protection.”
Women should have the right to support their family. But the first step to upholding this right is to make Lebanese women and men aware of the inequality in the law. This is the simple yet important message of the Hakkik Daman Ayltek campaign, which you can follow on Facebook.
Banner photo: an image from Haifa’s short movie.