Media Campaign: Khede Kasra

The Khede Kasra campaign

The immensely popular and internationally recognised, Khede Kasra campaign, raised awareness about gender equality in Lebanon and in the Arabic language in general by focusing on a simple symbol; the symbol in Arabic that makes a word female or clear that something is addressed to a woman. Wanting to address large-scale gender inequality in Lebanese society through their Women Empowerment Program, the Hariri Foundation worked with advertising agency Leo Burnett to conceptualise this campaign which drew people's attention to how at the very base of society, the daily Arabic vocabulary excludes and dismisses women.

How it worked

The campaign demonstrated how words are read as automatically addressed to men. Spoken and written words in the media which would otherwise be addressed to men by default, were altered with a “kasra” accent, making them addressed to women. Using television, radio, the internet and outdoor media, the campaign encouraged people to add the kasra to words, and therefore add women to everyday life.

Why we like it

The idea is simple and the message is clear! Although working with a renowned advertising agency is not available to most advocates, the idea is a very easy one to replicate and could even be applied to different types of visual language like public symbols (eg public toilet signs). In this campaign, the “kasra” symbol functioned as a wider metaphor for women, exposing how at every level of society, right down to daily language, they are not represented. The campaign did not require lots of data about women's situation politically and socially, because this small gesture became all the evidence needed. By adding the kasra symbol to words, “women” were included in the Arabic language, and by extension, Lebanese society. The word “kasra” also translates as “habit”; and the spread of the symbol showed that women ‘getting things moving'  can become a habit, and that change often starts small.

Category: Visualisation of women's rights and the representation of women in the Arab World

Year: 2009

By: Hariri Foundation and Leo Burnett.