New Female Ministers In Lebanon Are Facing Harassment And Sexism

If there is one thing particularly unique about the Lebanese revolution it’s the large participation of women. Women of all ages and backgrounds have taken to the streets fighting for everyone’s rights and demand change, alongside their male counterparts.

Throughout the revolution, Lebanese women were on the front lines of demonstrations, facing soldiers and riot police. They were buffers preventing outbreaks of violence.

Their strength and commitment are what have kept this revolution going.  The support that the Lebanese women gave to the revolution has allowed the protesters to stay on the streets as long as they did, and for the revolution to persevere as long as it did.  

That has included but not been limited to providing water and home-cooked food, contributing informative sessions in tents, enduring alongside and the same as the men, and leading marches.

Women hand in hand from all over Lebanon, the rich, the poor, from different religions and different cities, came together for a country they love, to support one another in hopes for a better future for their children.  

It was the unwavering courage, creativity, determination, and support that women have shown through this revolution that has made the revolution in Lebanon be called: Woman.

Regrettably, their remarkable participation has exposed them to misogynistic attitudes making them targets of some media outlets.

According to the Global Economy, Lebanon has one of the lowest world ranks in women’s participation in the labor force. Up till the formation of the new government, women were underrepresented in the political field.

The newly formed government has 6 new women heading important ministries, like justice and defense, and it is the highest female representation in the region. 

In spite of all which we seek as a nation to evolve through this revolution, these women were sexualized and objectified as soon as their names were declared public.

Some people disregarded their backgrounds, achievements, and degrees, and found ways to cyber harass them. What’s very disappointing is that even some women participated in the harassment and sexualization of the new Ministers.

Lebanese women have and still play an important role in the transformative change of Lebanon. Equality has not been reached between men and women in Lebanon yet.

We are only just now on the right track, and the least we could do is to support the efforts and show some respect.

Women’s empowerment has never been as important as it is now in the light of these harassments.

Debasing sexist comments should not even exist in a revolution against oppression in all its forms, let alone in a society that deems itself educated, intellectual, dignified, and open to progress. 

Truth is, comments like these ones speak more of the commentator than of the women he or she is insulting for her gender, aka for simply being a woman. It’s disgraceful to the offender, first and foremost. And it is unacceptable by all moral principles.

We as individuals should look at our mothers and all the greatness they’ve done for us, and the vital role they play in the preservation and the perpetuation of our nation to know how capable Lebanese women are, and how deserving of our respect they are.

It is weird when we think that women issuing such sexist comments could be found complaining about gender inequality when it comes to them. We all know that that’s a complaint we so hear in our society among women for decades.

The least they can do is to take a respectful stance towards those who have reached a level in which they could bring that change.

A reminder to the Lebanese people in general, whether men or women, whether they are with or against the new government, with or against the revolution, attacking women for being women does not lead to positive change. On the contrary, it shoots us backward.

We, as a nation, as a society that takes pride in itself, as a people seeking a better Lebanon, are called to judge these ministers according to the outcome of their competencies and work efforts; not their gender. 

Only then, we can say if they were up to the challenge or not. That is the stance we all ought to take, for that is our participation in the changes we seek. Reforms start with us.

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