Supporting families for over 70 years, family-owned skincare brand Mustela has brought together families from across the GCC to showcase their modern parenting life experiences. The ‘Parenting Unlabelled’ community project has been designed to empower and support parents throughout their journey. With an objective to create awareness about parenting gender roles in the Middle East, parents across the region have been encouraged to explore gender bias and to remove stereotyped roles between mothers and fathers within the family unit.
Workshops conducted across the UAE, Egypt and KSA, gave families the chance to express themselves and for their voices to be heard. Via a Photovoice project, mums and dads were able to document their own experiences creatively and explore modern parenting roles and gender responsibilities within the family. Parents took photos expressing their feelings and challenges and added their own voice to those images through narratives explaining the vision of their photos.
Family-owned skincare brand Mustela has brought together families from across the GCC to showcase their modern parenting life experiences
Workshop outcomes revealed key insights into the roles of modern parenting;
– Working mothers are struggling with their multiple roles inside and outside of the home.
– Mothers are weighted by the unrealistic expectation of the ‘perfect’ mother, wife and employee together with the mental load that they are carrying.
Meanwhile, Arab Fathers expressed a similar struggle but on a different level;
– The unrealistic expectation from marriage and what is expected from them within the partnership. Participating men also referred to the stigma around their roles as fathers and how it is often not accepted by their families and social ‘judgements’.
– Expat parents had a different perspective to their Arab counterparts and were more likely to be exposed to and be practicing the less traditional gender roles and balance.
At the Parenting Unlabelled event in Dubai, project participants, educational content creators and professionals from across the GCC came together to showcase the Photovoice project and included insightful panel discussions from the perspective of modern motherhood, fatherhood and an expert view of working together to combat gender bias, managing workloads, the balance of partnerships within the home and the challenges of raising families with additional needs.
Workshops conducted across the UAE, Egypt and KSA, gave families the chance to express themselves and for their voices to be heard
The true importance of the father’s role within the family unit, the advantages of positive male role modelling upon the child’s development were considered during ‘A Shift in Roles – a Father’s Experience in the Middle East’ which included insights from Dr. Nisreen Yacoubi, Associate Professor at King Abdulaziz University, KSA and Michel Gerges, Founder of Rajul.
The challenges faced by mothers looking for a more equalised mental and physical workload split in the home were discussed during ‘Motherhood Unlabelled – The Mother’s Experience in the Middle East’, with the insight of Dr. Sharifa Ayateem, DOH licensed Psychologist from the UAE and followed
by the third panel, ‘Collective Efforts in Family Wellbeing’ including Dr Mazna Patka, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Zayed University, Amina Diab, Psychologist and children’s author that explored the professional facets of helping families and couples who need help to look forward, require additional support through community or professional therapy options or have special needs
The panels also included a discussion about the collective efforts of communities and organisations towards family wellbeing – revealing the need for the education, media and private sectors to work together to maximise the impact and raise awareness of this important social issue.
The Photovoice project included insightful panel discussions from the perspective of modern motherhood and fatherhood
Giving parents the voice to express themselves is vital, says MEA Marketing Manager for Mustela, Eman ElGhandour “We wanted to bring everyone together to discuss the mountain of insights and topics raised from our project and discussions. We wanted to understand the joys, challenges and experiences of modern parenting and family lifestyle. We stand by parents. Mustela has stood with parents for over 70 Years doing our best to provide families with organic and safe products. We are also devoted to empowering parents and to ensure their wellbeing. The Parenting Unlabelled project has certainly helped everyone to open up and realise that they are not alone in their individual journeys, and to reassure them that brands like Mustela are willing to support with all our resources. We are looking forward to growing with the Parenting Unlabelled project by using our reach and platforms to spread positive awareness and truly make a change.”
The next phase of the project will see Mustela Middle East create an educational information hub via its website and online platforms to share insights, content and media that will be used to support and empower families throughout their parenting journey across the region.