Women Rights in Lebanon

Posted on 19 February 2010 by

Mar 11 Update: Audience Choice Award Winner in Group 1

Finalist in WLP’s Youth Essay Contest Group 1: 14-18 Years
Riad Hamadeh, Lebanon

Can you imagine a world where women are given equal rights as men? It is, and has always been, very hard for me to see the world in a different way. Women all over the world are not given their rights, and many non-governmental organizations are working hard in order to create equality between man and woman. In Lebanon, women have active roles in education and in the economy. Half of all the university students are women. Women’s education is very beneficial for them; it allows them to be active in the economy and to find opportunities in medicine, law, academia, the arts, and business. Unfortunately, few women have achieved senior positions in their field. Although the Lebanese constitution gives equal rights to men and women, and although women have a fairly good participation in many fields, they continue to be excluded from political institutions and from decision-making. This exclusion is due to many factors which can be improved if proper measures are taken.

Thunderstorm over Beirut (cc) akhater

Thunderstorm over Beirut (cc) akhater

Discrimination against woman has many grounds in Lebanon. First, discrimination is mainly socially based. Family values do not encourage women to participate in the public field; parents do not raise girls with the idea that they will be politicians. Many times, religious beliefs and practices give the woman a role of a subordinate which aggravates the situation. Second, discrimination against women is evident in the national curricula and in educational practices. For example, women are frequently given the roles of mothers, housekeepers, wives and possibly teachers or nurses. They are never presented as presidents, ministers or high officials. On another hand, leaders of political parties generally shy away from nominating women as part of their electoral lists. At the same time, there is no law in Lebanon that reserves for women a certain number of seats in the parliament or the cabinet of ministers, or that forces political parties to nominate women. In 2004, for the first time in Lebanon’s history, two women were appointed as ministers in a the Lebanese cabinet. Only four members of the 128-seat parliament, elected in 2009, are women. So, the role of women in public life is still very weak.

Discrimination against women can be erased if proper measures are taken on all levels. It is important to change the way society perceives women, so we need to revise school curricula to make sure that they focus on successful women and that they show that women can have an active role in public life. Women can be portrayed as ministers, deputies, ambassadors and special attention is given to those women who have succeeded in Lebanon or elsewhere in the world. Moreover, a very big campaign should be launched to raise awareness among and change the dominant mentality about the role of women and the importance of their participation in decision-making and in politics. This campaign can be done through TV and Radio programs, NGOs and all other possible means. At the same time, it is very important to convince the government and the parliament to pass a law that reserves a certain number of seats for women both in the parliament and in the cabinet and that forces public and private institutions to do the same. These measures might not erase discrimination but they will definitely improve the situation of women in my country.

In conclusion, although the laws give equal rights to men and women to practice politics, reality shows that there is discrimination against women in this respect due to many factors. This however, can be improved since Lebanese women, in general, receive good education and participate actively in the economy. I really look forward to see a woman elected as president of the republic. The Lebanese government and the people should join their hands to reach this goal, hoping for a world where all types of discrimination disappear!

Finalist in WLP’s Youth Essay Contest Group 1: 14-18 Years
Riad H, Lebanon

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32 Comments For This Post

  1. Francesco Says:


  2. youchaa Says:

    hope u win

  3. Marcos Says:

    From all 5 essays this is trully the BEST one
    im sure it’ll win

  4. hi Says:

    very well written

  5. mounco Says:

    This essay shows exactly how the situation in Lebanon is.

  6. ABC Says:

    Very good to have such enthusiastic writers!

  7. DEF Says:

    I love how he backs up his argument by saying how these changes are already in progress! Good job!

  8. haha ? Says:

    this kick ass, im positive ya gonna win this thang

  9. Z. Ramzy Says:

    It’s good to have a man in our country that is fighting for our rights. I’m a journalist and I’ve been working abroad for several years. I always read articles about this subject that is very relevant now… I can say that Mr. Riad did a very good job and deserves to win. Well-done.

  10. Sousou Says:

    This essay amazed me! The English, the ideas, the solutions, the comments, the organized campaign!

  11. P.J Taylor Says:

    Excellent job in all the sense of the word!

  12. J. Says:

    We would also like to that the minister for reading the thoughts of the public! J

  13. Kristina Says:

    great essay, I hope what you dream of lebanon achieving concernig the women’s rights issues will come true.

  14. Youmna Sawaya Says:

    Great essay Riad !
    Good luck :)

  15. Smith Says:

    Wish you to win


  16. Dr Wilson Says:

    Keep it up young man!

  17. Charlotte Says:

    It deserves a thumbs up (Y)

  18. Bryan Says:

    Riad, i have to tell you, this is an exellent essay.
    I’ve read all the finalist’s essays and this one in my opinion
    is the best and i really hope it will win. congratulation


  19. Peter Says:

    Awazing! well done kid

  20. Dida Saab Says:

    Kudos to you, Riad! You are already a winner for the mere fact of addressing this very important subject in a very well-written essay. WOW…I guess there is hope for change because of young men like you!!! We all appreciate your interest in this and your decision to take on this challenge. Best of luck to you!

  21. quim Says:

    good essay!! nice

  22. sk Says:


  23. Rawan Says:

    Read them all, and yours is the best. :) Hope you win! You deserve it.

  24. Rami Jammoul Says:

    wow Riad seriously, an excellent wake up message to our leaders here and in all the conservative regions were man is dominant over women. I wish you the best :)

  25. Elias Says:

    It is really good best of luck

  26. Hayfa Says:


    Great essay and a mind opening perspective. Your approach in writing about this subject is quite impressive: simple, engaging and “out of the box”.

    Well done!

  27. R Mounla Says:

    im just commenting so u in ma ken 2ili 5ili2 to read it…. gd luck!

  28. Shi Min T Says:

    We share the same ideas (both the issue and suggested solutions)=)

    However, from the comments I got for my essay (and the comments under the essay of first prize winner for Group 2), many still doubt if education can really work in resolving this issue. Like in my country, I can hear voices of frustrations, showing their disappointment towards the education system, or more importantly towards people who are WORKING on and in the education system, until some, come to the end of despair that they don’t think education will ever work.

    Worse still worse, it’s a “tradition” that the post of education minister, the key person who decide the education policy in the country, has always being held by male politicians who are elected and chosen through election. Note that in Malaysia, education minister is considered an “elite post”. (all current and former Prime Ministers, except the first one, in Malaysia used to hold the post of education minister) With little number of women in the parliament, it’s sure hard to break this “tradition”.

    So, the solutions? Fall back to education itself, while the “tradition” is still hard to be broken in the parliament? Vote more women into the parliament? How? Will that guarantee their post as an education minister anyway? Will there be any woman who’s willing to take up the challenge anyway?

    Some questions to ponder.

    By the way, keep it up, Riad!=) I’m glad that I finally found a finalist who’s thinking the same as me.

  29. Sherine Bayoud Says:

    Dear Riad,

    Very well written and extremely impressive views on this topic, for your generation. Seeing that you are aware of this issue makes hope for “real” change seems more “REAL”! Your style of writing is as astounding as the topic itself!

    Great Job!

  30. nina a Says:

    What are the chances that a women would be elected for president in lebanon? As well as would she have to been born there. Lebanon needs someone who is for the people.

  31. Carroll Conninghan Says:

    Thank you for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  32. Cela D Says:

    I really liked this essay, you have rich ideas well expressed. However, I’d like to inform you that in lebanese law, women and men are NOT absolutely equal. the law 16 of CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) which is supposed to conform the equality between the two genders is signed in RESERVATIONS. This shows that women and men in Lebanon even by law aren’t totally equal.

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