The conditions of Lebanese women’s access to education, as well as their presence in the labour market, are among the best in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). However, in practice, women are not equal to men before the law and their presence in the political sphere is almost non-existent. In fact, the representation of Lebanese women in the political field is even lower than in countries of the same region with a lower Human Development Index, as is the case of Libya, Syria, Iraq or Jordan.
A field diagnosis about women’s political participation in Lebanon, conducted by the Lebanese association Committee for the Follow-Up on Women’s Issues (CFUWI) in 2017, analysed the causes of this inconsistency specifically in the Mount Lebanon region, but the results can be applied to other areas in the country.
This study revealed that the factors responsible for this problem lie in the social, economic and legal dimensions and in the political system itself. The latter, drowned in the religious sectarianism of the 18 confessions that coexist in the country, exerts double discrimination against women.
This article explores the religious sectarianism as one of the causes of women’s low representation in the political sphere and other obstacles detailed in the diagnosis of CFUWI; and highlights the role of women and women’s associations in the Lebanese protests of 2019.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.