Women’s Suffrage in Lebanon

Nov 4, (1952)

Women’s right to vote
Number of female heads of state to date: 0

Facts and figures

Leadership and political participation – [UN Women]
Women in Parliaments: World Classification – [IPU]

Lebanese Women's Day - Women’s Day Lebanon

Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs

1st Lebanese Women’s Day / Women’s Day Lebanon
Nov 4, 2018

May 17, 2017
The Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, Jean Oghassabian, announced that the Cabinet approved November 4 as Lebanese Women’s Day. Women in Lebanon gained suffrage on November 4 in 1952, only five years after men did (in the year 1947).

Women’s Minister For Affairs Has Declared A National “Lebanese Women’s Day”

Last night it was announced that Lebanon will celebrate its first Lebanese Women’s Day on November 4th next year. On choosing this date, Jean Ogasapian, Women’s Minister for Affairs noted, “I chose Nov. 4 because on that day a decree was signed by the government giving women the right to vote for the first time.”
It is worth noting that Lebanese women gained the right to vote before Switzerland by almost twenty years. However, that was probably the only notable progression in terms of women’s rights since Lebanese independence in 1943, and currently, there is only one female minister and a few female MP’s.

From stay at home mothers, to women with families and full time jobs, this Lebanese Women’s Day aims to recognise and understand the “struggle of women in Lebanon”, noted Ogasapian, going on to say “we want to show what Lebanese women did for the country.”

Although a small step, it is indeed one in the right direction.

Journée de la femme au Liban

Le gouvernement fait du 4 novembre la Journée de la femme au Liban

“Le ministre d’État pour les Droits de la femme, Jean Oghassabian, a annoncé hier que, suite à une décision du Conseil des ministres, le 4 novembre sera désormais célébré comme la Journée nationale de la femme. Pourquoi cette date ? « Parce que c’est le 4 novembre 1952 que le premier décret stipulant l’amendement de la loi électorale et permettant à la femme libanaise de voter et de se présenter aux élections, a été émis », a-t-il répondu.

M. Oghassabian a dans ce contexte affirmé que son ministère œuvre, en concertation avec les autorités concernées, à « accorder à la femme tous ses droits ». « Le jour où j’ai pris mes fonctions au sein de ce ministère, j’ai su que j’avais un grand défi à relever, parce que je considère que la femme doit bénéficier de tous ses droits », a-t-il ajouté.”


Lebanon Support

Women’s Achievements in Lebanon

A Historical Overview of Women’s Achievements in Lebanon
Literature describes women’s organisations as the “frontrunners of societal change”, as they further the debate surrounding women’s rights, gender equality, and the LGBTIQ community. In Lebanon, the emergence of women’s movements and organisations were on the rise after the war in Lebanon (1975-1990) and were initiated during major historical changes in the Arab World. Voting, citizenship, and working rights have witnessed developments over the past few decades, contributing to the advancement of women’s rights throughout the country.
› civilsociety-centre.org/gen/women_mvt/4939

UN Women

Historic day for women in Lebanon as Parliament repeals rape law

August 18, 2017
On the heels of Jordan and Tunisia scrapping discriminatory rape laws, the Lebanese Parliament agreed on 16 August, to abolish the Penal Code Article 522, the infamous “rape law” or “rape-marriage” law, which exempted a rapist from punishment if he married his victim.

Following the repeal of the clause, Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri tweeted: “All these steps are part of a journey that we will pursue along with the Lebanese woman until she gains all her rights”. Lebanese Minister for Women’s Affairs, Jean Oghassabian, had previously declared that this law belonged to the “Stone Age”.
› unwomen.org/lebanon-parliament-repeals-rape-law

Quota 30%

June 8, 2017
Minister Ogasabian: “This place has its symbolism, ie Martyrs’ Square, because it is the arena of democracy, justice, freedom, law and thus the arena of man and citizenship.”
“The existence of women in political life is effective for human rights and freedoms,” he said. “The government has a duty to include women’s quotas in any election law adopted by it, especially as it stated this in the ministerial statement.” “We demand this, because women have scientific, intellectual and legal energy, which is a necessity for the development of institutional work”.
› nna-leb.gov.lb/ar/show-news/288803/


Women Fight the Odds and Overcome Political Barriers in Lebanon

April 17, 2017
Lebanon is the oldest democracy in the Middle East, granting women the right to vote and run for office in 1953. So why, more than six decades later, does Lebanon have so few women in its parliament? According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Lebanon ranks 185 out of 193 countries surveyed with only 3 percent of women in its 128-seat parliament. This low rate is not for lack of qualified women. Women now account for more than half of university graduates in Lebanon and can be found in senior level positions in the private sector, civil society, and academic institutions. Parliamentary elections, widely anticipated in the next year, are an opportunity to address this woeful imbalance in the political field. The National Democratic Institute (NDI), in collaboration with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), held a boot camp for 46 potential women candidates over the first weekend in April to launch the Candidate Academy program sponsored by the British Embassy in Beirut. The program aims to provide practical skills and advice to first-time candidates seeking office in Lebanon.

The Knowledge is Power (KIP) Project

“#Mesh_Basita” | “مش_بسيطة#”

July 31 – Aug 15, 2017
From July 31 to August 15, 2017, the general public is invited to share their photos, videos, and text which show that sexual harassment is “not okay” and that mechanisms are needed to confront it at the national legislative level in Lebanon. Those interested can use the hashtag “مش _بسيطة#” or “mesh_basita” across various social media platforms in an effort to provide a range of messages around the issue of sexual harassment in Lebanon.

The campaign encourages all members of the public, including members of private sector, public sector, academia, and civil society, to share their messages. By gathering voices across sector and discipline, the campaign aims to highlight the pervasiveness of the issue and the need for collective action.

It’s been a (relatively) good week for women’s rights in the Middle East | The New Arab

Aug 3, 2017
The struggle for women’s rights in the Middle East is by no means over, but the passionate and dedicated fight for equality and protection is paying off.

Flag of Lebanon

Flag Lebanon