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Lebanon

Population size and demographic: 5.3 million. 49.63% of the population is female and 50.37% is male.

Women at Work:

In Lebanon, 20% of the labour force are women (1). About 18.64% of women are unemployed (2). Female participation in the labour force declines after age 30 and 52.6% of the female labour force is single (1). When it comes to heads of household, 14% are women, with 16.3% of working women being heads of their household. About 74% of women work in the private sector, with 81% working in the service sector, 15% in the industrial sector and 4% in the agricultural sector. About 24.6% of the female labour force are education specialists, 5% are accountants and specialists in administration and law and 3% are specialists in health sciences. (1)

Only around 11% of female workers earn more than LL 1 million per month and 40% of working women work fewer than 33 hours per week. About 35% fo working women do not have access to social security (1). Women held 42.3% of senior and middle management positions across the public sector in 2018 and 2019 but only 26.5% of managerial positions in private sector. (3)


Women’s Participation in Parliament:

Women in Lebanon gained the right to vote in 1953, as well as the right to run for election. (7) Over the past 15 years until 2021, only about 4.7% of parliament seats were taken by women (3). In 2022, out of the 128 seats in parliament, 8 are taken by women (4). In 2016, 5.4% of the elected municipal candidates were women (3) and in 2009 52.4% of voters in the elections were women (5).

In the municipalities, the rate of women is 4.7% (5) and in 2004, two female ministers were appointed for the first time in the history of Lebanon. In 2020, four women were appointed to the ministerial cabinet, making up less than 10% of the cabinet. (6)


Violence against Women

There isn’t a lot of data on violence against women in Lebanon, but the country ranks 96 in the Gender Inequality Index Rank (8). In a study done in 2015, results show that 55.46% of respondents to the study did not agree that Lebanese law protects women from violence. The results also show that 75.83% of the participants would not call the police if they witnessed maltreatment. A staggering 91.67% would not volunteer to take the woman to a hospital if she was injured. This study reveals that 42.02% of women would choose to leave their husband in a case of violence and maltreatment (9). While rape is considered a crime, marital rape is not outlawed in Lebanon. (10) The percentage of women aged 20-24 who were married before reaching 18 years of age is 6%. (8)


Health:

In 2016, the maternal mortality rate in Lebanon was 29 women per 100,000 births (11). The under-five mortality rate for baby girls stood at 22 per 1000 live births compared to 15 for baby boys (3). Five out of ten married women between the ages of 15 and 49 use contraceptives but 9% use traditional methods in Lebanon. About 20% of women suffering from chronic health conditions had unmet needs in healthcare (3).

Only 17% of women go to the doctor at least once a year for check-ups and 32% only go when it is an emergency (12). About 72% of Lebanese women aged 18 and over have been to the gynecologist at least once and 23% of women go twice a year. (12). Women in urban areas said medical services are easily available to them at a higher rate than women in rural areas, 75% compared to 62%.


Education:

When it comes to the female labour force, 25% have a university degree and 18% have a vocational degree (1). In 2014, 55.7% of students in tertiary education were female, the number is growing at an average annual rate of 2.26% (13). Net school attendance for both boys and girls is nearly 90% (3). About 36% of women with disabilities are attending secondary school (3). Literacy rate for girls aged 15 and above is 93.31%. (14)


Current Law and Policy:

Lebanon did not join the COMMIT Initiative. In 2014, Lebanon adopted a law on combatting domestic violence. Despite this, there are still major obstacles that continue to undermine women’s rights and access to justice.

In 2008 the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women expressed concerns over the persistence of violence against women, including domestic violence and rape within Lebanon. Following this, Lebanon developed and adopted new laws and policies that aimed to protect women against gender-based violence and other human rights violations; this included the Law on combatting domestic violence (Law N0 293/2014). 

However, the law that was passed defines domestic violence narrowly. The Law established important protection measures and key policing and court reforms, but did not address issues of marital rape and other abuses. The crimes identified in the law relate to forced begging, prostitution, homicide, adultery, and the use of force or threats to obtain sex. The crimes of assault and making threats are already criminalised under the Lebanese Penal Code but have not been explicitly incorporated as a crime under the domestic violence law.

Parts of the law have also yet to be implemented, including the establishment of family violence units within the Internal Security Forces and the setting up of a fund to assist survivors of domestic violence.

Additionally, many women still struggle to gain access to justice. Not only are there obstacles found within Lebanon’s legal framework and administration of justice, but there are continuing economic, social and cultural barriers for women. These need to be removed, otherwise gender-based violence will remain a pervasive human rights issue throughout Lebanon.

In late 2019, Lebanese women demonstrated to demand laws that protect them adequately against domestic violence amid large discontent over the inadequate legal system that fails to defend women's rights. Lebanon’s domestic violence law was an important first step, but needs to be developed to better protect against domestic violence.


Frontline Services:

· Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation - https://kvinnatillkvinna.org/ - info@kvinnatillkvinna.se

· The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women - https://cherieblairfoundation.org/https://cherieblairfoundation.org/contact/ - media@cherieblairfoundation.org ; MediaRequest@cherieblairoffice.org

· Medical Aid for Palestinians - https://www.map.org.uk/ - info@map.org.uk

· Search for Common Ground - https://www.sfcg.org/ - webinfo@sfcg.org


Sources:



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