The Heiress of Chromosome X

Myriam W. El-Feghaly

Most articles, documentaries and media stories in Lebanon are focusing nowadays on domestic violence issues. True that women should be protected by a law, and crimes should be punished, but there are other violations against women’s rights that should be addressed, including gender inequality in inheritance. This important issue isn’t really known, but it remains a common practice. True that it depends on the different laws of Sectarian branches, but basically, women in Lebanon suffer from bad distribution of inheritance, based on purely sexist and discriminatory traditions and attitudes.

Let me share with you my own stories here as examples:

A friend of mine, a girl with two brothers, considered in her neighborhood as “daddy’s girl”, was offered by her father the newest car, the newest technology’s gadgets and accessories, big amounts of pocket money to buy the trendiest cloths and accessories…A modern princess ! However, she will not inherit her dearest father because, according to him, she is the “Heiress of Chromosome X”.

My uncle – my mom’s brother –  inherited along with his two brothers and three sisters an equal share according to the wish of my grand-father who respected women as human beings, against his society’s customs. However, my uncle did not learn from his father the lesson of gender equality and justice, and gave already everything to his only male child, when his four other daughters got nothing.

As for my father, things seem to be different, but he does not have a male heir. I don’t think I will ever know if his belief/attitude is one of gender equality or based on the fact that he has no sons. Who am I to judge him? But on the other hand, he cannot ignore the fact that my sisters and I are effective responsible people, financially independent, working full time jobs while studying. Aren’t women accomplishments and efforts  conclusive evidences that they should be appreciated and recognized for their right to equal shares with men?

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