| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Women are absent from political life… shocking numbers and facts

The issue of Lebanese women’s participation in politics is quite timely, as the low rates of women’s participation in politics are not only due to their under-representation in official political positions only, but also reflect the status of women in Lebanon as “second-class citizens”. The many structural factors that perpetuate this reality, are well documented, including personal status laws, and social perceptions that link women to the private worlds of the family and the home. In addition to this, the electoral system and the general voting culture in Lebanon are largely male-dominated, where the main task was to produce political elites: political families and sectarian parties.

The United Nations Women’s Commission has conducted a study on the social and political situation of women in Lebanon, which is summarized as follows:

Although there were a record number of women in the 2018 national elections, women formed 4.68% of parliament members only.
– Women were also underrepresented in the Council of Ministers, until 2019, when for the first time in Lebanon’s history, four women were appointed as ministers.
– In January 2020, this number continued to rise with the appointment of six women as ministers, including the first woman Minister of Defense in the Arab countries, who also held the Deputy Prime Minister office.

As for the candidacy of women, it seems that this year will be very weak, as in previous years, as the percentage of parties’ candidacy in the 2018 elections was shy, even very shameful, and came as follows:

Progressive Socialist Party: 0 women and 10 male candidates
Future Movement: 4 females – 33 males
– Free Patriotic Movement: 3 females – 44 males
– The Kataeb Party 3 females – 15 males
– Amal movement: 1 woman – 15 males
Hezbollah: zero females – 13 males
– Lebanese Forces: 1 woman – 18 males

As for the percentage of women who won the parliamentary elections since 1992 until today, is:
1992: 3
1996: 3
2000: 3
2005: 6
2009: 4
2018: 6

The percentage of women voters in the parliamentary and municipal elections is as follows:

2009: 51.2%
2014: 51.2%
2015: 51%
2016: 50.8%
2009: 52.4%
2018: 51.6%

Marginalization is not restricted to the number of women in parliament only, but also extends to the way most women reach the parliament at that stage, either by inheriting the man in absence, or young age of the male heir, as was the case with Mirna Al-Bustani, Nayla Moawad, Nihad Saeed, and Solange Gemayel and Nayla Tueni, or through the political family, as is the case with Bahia Hariri and Strida Geagea.

The hope remains that the percentage of women’s participation in the upcoming elections will change, through voting and candidacy, since they were in the front lines in the October 17 revolution.

  • Sawt Beirut International