BEIRUT: Rola Tabesh attended law school given the multidimensional aspects of the field, exposing her to a vast array of interests and experiences.
As a lawyer specialized in business and trade, Tabesh’s legal background was a key selling point in her successful run for parliament.
Tabesh took time out from her dual role as a lawyer and politician to talk to Annahar at her downtown law office and to share the obstacles and success in her political life.
Her book-filled office is well appointed with a view of the Mediterranean and personalized with pictures of her son and husband, and the plaques of the many awards and recognition she has received.
Tabesh, whose desk features a “hotline” of sorts dedicated to personal calls from her Beiruti constituents, is down to earth and at ease in talking.
Engaging with the constituents, and articulating complex argument is a key factor in Tabesh’s personal success, especially that before she succeeded in the Lebanese legislative elections 2018, she was a part of the parliamentary committees and contributed to the drafting of several laws, as she has broad involvement in a wide assortment of domestic, local and worldwide corporate related issues. As of 2016, Rola has been appointed Associate Director of the Alem & Associates Law Firm.
Being one of the few women to become a part of Lebanon’s 128-member legislative body, Tabesh spoke about the challenges she faced, just as the other five women parliament members who made their way through the elections, she ran on Hariri’s Future Movement list in the Beirut II district.
In the 2009 elections, only 12 women had gone after a seat in Lebanon's 128-seat Parliament and just four had won the elections. While in the latest elections, 976 competitors initially enlisted to run for the parliamentary elections, and only 111 were women applicants.
“Although more women than ever have been elected to the Lebanese parliament, equality is still a long way off, and the progress is far too slow,” Tabesh told Annahar.
Tabesh is a well-known supporter of civil society initiatives and a human rights advocate for women and children. Although she faced numerous challenges, such as addressing discrimination, and cultural beliefs that limit women’s role in society, her full support goes to the improvement of women’s access to include electoral reforms and developments that take special measures in gender equality, such as quotas.
Yet, Tabesh categories youth development progress as the closest social issue to her heart as she is driven by her own motherhood and hopes to transform the lives of young people through various legislative initiatives as she is a mother to her son, Issam.
Tabesh’s history in law has been helpful in forming a good foundation for an eventual career in politics. She studied law in the Lebanese University. The thorough study Tabesh acquired in law helped in paving the way to sustain a strong understanding of the rules and the formation of new ones.
With such a demanding new career as a parliamentary Deputy, Tabesh is still finding the balance between work and motherhood, a life balance, “being a member of the parliament as a woman politician cannot prevent me from exercising my current home activities, I always make sure that none of those responsibilities is a barrier to another,” she said.
She has also written fluently on a variety of topics, among which are corporate administration, corporate rebuilding, and real estate management. Likewise, she added to the drafting of a several laws such as the Private Equity Fund, Single Member Company, and Global Depositary Receipts and she was a significant part of the change of the Lebanese Code of Commerce.
She has won numerous prestigious local and international awards for her work. In 2018, Tabesh was awarded by Global/Acquisition International, the most influential women's law title in Lebanon. She was honored in 2016 by the UNESCO Beirut office for her efforts in training the coach for her skills in social entrepreneurship.
What is important is fairness of chance, not equality of outcome. There should not be any barriers to women taking participation in politics; they should be supported, as she noted.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
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