Is Sexism Overrated in Lebanon?

Dr. Pamela Chrabieh
Dr. Pamela Chrabieh
October 2013, Lebanon

Not at all…

A perfect example? Not a single woman in the Lebanese government! Even in the previous ones, women were poorly represented – in numbers and effective presence.

What about the Parliament? Even worse…

The reason of this misrepresentation – i.e discrimination? According to most male politicians: ‘We are not able to find a qualified woman’ or ‘This is not a good time to work on gender issues’…

At least half of Lebanese voters are women. One might think that women could easily take over in political arenas. Still, there are many obstacles to enter the world of politics. Qualification isn’t the issue here. Sexism is. Sexism being ‘attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles’ or ‘discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, as in restricted job opportunities, especially, such as discrimination directed against women’.

Sexism is found everywhere and in most circumstances. It could be called ‘casual’ : a senior group project with five men and a woman who is asked to be the notetaker because she is a woman and she must have the best handwriting.

And, it can be more ‘serious’… Sexual harrassment is part of sexism too, and it is serious… All forms of violence against women are part of sexism…

Lately, the law project against domestic violence was roughly rejected by a large number of religious institutions – especially Dar al-Fatwa (the highest Sunni religious institution in Lebanon). Meanwhile, most politicians were busy attacking the new government or defending its legitimacy.

In fact, many qualified and independent women choose to fight within the Civil Society, believing that State institutions are too corrupt or that they must contend with “damned-if-you-do-or-don’t” standards – Women are asked to be Superwomen – i.e perfect wives, mothers and public servants/public figures…

The solution? There are many. Sexism will always exist, but it could be dealt with/limited.. Certainly: with Education on Gender issues, Women Empowering, Lobbying, Men-Women Cooperation, etc. Even the playing field a little!

Join the Conversation

No comments

  1. Sexism isn’t overrated! Even in all countries of the MENA region. Even in Europe and North Africa. Maybe in Scandinavian countries, but still…

  2. Bravo pour ce beau projet! Malheureusement, le sexisme est encore de rigueur, et à tous les niveaux, quelles que soient les couches sociales, les partis politiques, les milieux rural ou urbain, les confessions, et j’en passe.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *