Institute of Women’s Studies founds gender equality observatory to promote social justice, equity

Birzeit University has laid the cornerstone for an equality and social justice observatory to improve campus safety, address gaps related to gender-based discrimination, and enhance the safety of students and faculty who might be subjected to sexual harassment or gender-based violence.

The observatory is an initiative of the university’s Institute of Women’s Studies, whose long-standing mission is to achieve increased equality for, and substantial participation of, women in the academic and administrative spheres at the university through its varied studies and monitoring reports.

The observatory’s efforts will be coordinated with the Office of the Vice President’s for Planning and Development to address social justice deficits and integrate social equality and justice in relevant policies to promote a more inclusive and cohesive society inside the university’s campus. The observatory aims to be active in preventing and addressing sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence.

Dr. Islah Jad, the observatory’s coordinator and an assistant professor in women’s studies, said that this initiative will define the sources and forms of discriminatory and biased policies and practices inside the campus. The ultimate goal, she added, is to bridge the gender gap between the university’s members through initiatives and plans that eliminate discriminatory laws and practices and, more importantly, provide a safe place for students and staff to discuss discriminatory policies that they might suffer from.

Dr. Jad pointed out that the complaints and suggestions the observatory will receive will help the team of researchers and professors come up with appropriate policies and procedures and carry out further studies and research projects to better achieve equality and justice between all genders.