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Gender equality in cinema advances with UNESCO’s Maghreb-Machrek project

Written by FDM

After three years of implementation, the regional project “Strengthening a gender-sensitive film sector in the Maghreb-Mashrek region” led by UNESCO Maghreb-Mashrek presents its fine results: the development and launch of numerous tools and initiatives to combat stereotypes and other sexist clichés conveyed in cinema.

“Equipping girls and boys, women and men with the necessary knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills to tackle gender disparities is a prerequisite for building a sustainable future for all”. This is UNESCO’s message, which places gender equality as a global priority in its various fields of competence.


For many years, the UN antenna has been strongly committed to promoting a film and audiovisual industry sensitive to gender equality. After three years of implementation, its regional project “Strengthening a gender-sensitive film sector in the Maghreb-Mashrek region” has made progress. Namely, the launched of the first study in the region presenting the result of gender equality in films and the Arab-language film industry, the creation of an online directory of women professionals of the film Arab Women In Films, and an advocacy campaign for the promotion of gender equality, as well as the launch of an awareness-raising process for national public entities, supporting the development of film and gender-sensitive creative industries in the Maghreb-Machrek region, or the establishment of “SISTERS IN FILMS”, a network of exchange of expertise, personal development, and solidarity between professionals.
Concretely, eight directors benefited from the said Sisters In Film program in 2019, and launched the “Rawiyat” network. 240 film professionals, including 80 women, also worked on the film Anthology Chronicles of her bringing together 5 short films from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, on the theme of gender equality and the empowerment of women in the Arab region. This ambitious project led by UNESCO has also supported film and audiovisual schools. It also made it possible to organize film screenings for young people and women. And finally, 7 film festivals in France, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Jordan hosted the Her Film program, which enabled thirty directors and film professionals to broadcast their films and participate in round tables and conferences, and network with other professionals in the 7th art.

The project “Strengthening a gender-sensitive film sector in the Maghreb-Machrek region” was co-financed by the European Union, with the support of Sweden and the Multi-Donor Program on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP), and implemented in partnership with UN Women, Mena Media Monitoring and the Salé International Women’s Film Festival.