NAYA| Life beyond Patriarchy: An overview of Lebanese women in politics

Speakers tackled the importance of implementing a quota system for the upcoming elections and the reasons behind previously refusing to integrate such a quota in the electoral law.
by Tala Ramadan

26 September 2019 | 12:39

Source: by Annahar

  • by Tala Ramadan
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 26 September 2019 | 12:39

(Annahar Photo)

BEIRUT: After witnessing the highest number of participating women candidates in the 2018 parliamentary elections, some Lebanese citizens still wonder why only 6 out of those 111 candidates were able to reserve their seats in the decision-making assembly.

With this background in mind, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation hosted a discussion on Wednesday to tackle the tamed participation of women in politics and the necessary actions that could promote gender equality in the political scene. The talk took place at their premises in Achrafieh.

The panel was moderated by Youmna Makhlouf, a teaching assistant and researcher at the Faculty of Law at Saint Joseph University of Beirut, and featured Rabih El Chaer, a public affairs expert with experience in public policy across Europe and the Middle East, and Cedar Mansour, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science at Notre Dame University.

Speakers tackled the importance of implementing a quota system for the upcoming elections and the reasons behind previously refusing to integrate such a quota in the electoral law. They also tried answering: why is politics dominated by men? And is there hope for change?

Although the answer to the first question is usually linked to patriarchy, speakers explained that the issue is a tangled web of legal, social, financial, and political barriers.

El Chaer highlighted that the political system is governed by “traditional” rules, which are set by the sectarian system of compromise and power-sharing. This system draws on the representational base of various religious communities, which are dominated by male members.

El Chaer accordingly added that cultural and structural changes are needed to turn the situation around; discussion among society members is urged. 

In her turn, Mansour emphasized that the female quota system can promote women’s representation and guarantee the advanced “reservation” of seats for women in the parliament. The quota stands as one of the most applicable ways to increase women’s political participation and representation. Mansour mentioned that in many countries around the world, quotas have been adopted by political parties to guarantee the election of women candidates.

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Welcome to "NAYA," the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations-NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat@annahar.com.lb

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