SUN 23 - 9 - 2018
Mar 12, 2018
The Daily Star
March: The Lebanese women’s month
March is considered the month of “Women” in Lebanon where three major occasions are celebrated to highlight the role of women in our society as activists, teachers and mothers. The fact that 111 candidates are running for elections is a breakthrough in celebration of International Women’s Day. On March 7, the National Commission for Lebanese Women organized a national consultation on women’s issues, titled “Unifying Vision and Coordinating Efforts,” under the patronage and presence of the first lady, Nadia Shamy Aoun. It was a Lebanese consultation among governmental stakeholders to stress the urgent societal needs to achieve gender equality.
During the meeting, the president of NCLW, Claudine Aoun Roukoz, presented the programs of NCLW and the laws that still breach the basic rights of women. Mrs. Claudine launched a call for self-reflection to evaluate what we have done and been doing for the Lebanese women and girls issues each from his/her national, political and administrative responsibilities since this is, in first place, the responsibility of the Lebanese state.
Minister of State for Administrative Development Inaya Ezzeddine, stressed in her speech the necessity for transforming women’s issues to a wider societal issue concerning all factions in the society as a pillar of social balance. Ezzeddine also highlighted the relationship between fighting corruption and empowering women due to the detrimental impact of corruption on development.
In that framework, President Michel Aoun gave a push to all Lebanese women to fight for their rights, especially in the political field, as their rights are taken not given. The president motivated women to take the initiative, lead platforms, enhance their presence and get engaged in politics as a leader not a beneficiary.
The keynote speeches were followed by a closed working group session, “Strategies, laws, and programs related to women in the public sector: redundancy and lack of coordination,” in which directors general and gender focal points in ministries and governmental organizations, as well as NCLW members, came up with concrete actions for structured coordination and collaboration among governmental organizations.
The International Women’s day was celebrated differently by the National Initiative for the Centennial of Great Lebanon celebrated the Lobnanyat Bloc 9, almost every woman present in a governmental, academic or social organization was greeted by MP Bahia Hariri with a symbolic card raising public awareness about the wider maritime territory of Lebanon which represents the future scope of economic opportunities that will influence the future for Lebanon. The card’s greetings come at a moment when Lebanon is preparing its economic and legislative structure to oil exploration. It is an opportunity to think and brainstorm as a nation on the utilization of our natural resources in social development and closing the gender gap.
Another important day for Lebanese women is March 9, on which Lebanon celebrates Teachers’ Day in recognition of the teachers’ role in shaping our society through building the knowledge and awareness of our generations. Lebanon’s human capital has been built by the efforts of our sincere teachers, and now they are preparing our next generations for the jobs of the future. Lebanese women represent majority of the workforce of the education sector: 77.4 percent of public schools’ teachers and administration are women; the percentages rises to 78.6 in private schools. This mission of Lebanese women deserves more elaboration and empowerment.
Finally, March 21 is Mother’s Day, an important day for Lebanese women and families at large. The tradition of the day is mostly based around family gatherings with mothers at the center of them. However, on this very important day, we ought to be thoughtful about the fact that we are celebrating without many mothers being able to grant nationality to her children. It is an indivisible part of women’s rights to be able to grant her kids the same nationality, just like men do. It is undeniable that the current nationality law is part of our inconsistencies when we talk about empowering women politically or economically. Lebanese women who are undertaking the crucial task of educating our population deserve to be equally capable of granting their kids the same nationality.
Lebanon is entering a new phase on economic, social and political fronts. It is important for the development of our society to focus on securing the necessary regulatory, economic and social settings that will make their role in society more effective and consistent with Lebanon’s future as we dream of it.
Hiba Huneini is the manager of the Youth and Civic Engagement Program at the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development. Email her at
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 10, 2018, on page 3.
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