Numerically, Lebanese women constitute a little more than half of the Lebanese population. Over the past decades, they have been able to reach important and essential positions in the public and private sectors due to their high competencies and capabilities.
Even though they face sexism and other obstacles along the way, they have proven that their presence in political work, especially in government and parliament, is of fundamental importance.
Over 100 women worked hard to reach parliamentary positions during these elections in order to contribute their voices and expertise to their country.
However, very few were elected, despite all the efforts and campaigns of feminist groups and NGOs like UN Women, calling for equal gender participation in the parliament.
Only 8 women are now part of the newly elected body of the parliament. Here’s everything you need to know about them:
Dr. Najat Saliba ran in Mount Lebanon IV under the “United for Change” list and won a Maronite seat in parliament.
Dr. Saliba holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. She’s an atmospheric chemistry specialist, an environmental activist, an AUB Chemistry Professor, and co-founder of Khaddit Beirut, a community organization with over 210 experts.
Dr. Saliba has proven outstanding achievements, with her name shining also overseas, making headlines internationally. She’s a Laureate of the L’Oreal-UNESCO International Award for Women In Science (2019) and was ranked by BBC among the Top 100 Women of the world in 2019.
A strong activist for women’s rights and the environment, Paula Yacoubian ran in Beirut I in the “Li Watani” list in Beirut I and won an Armenian Orthodox seat in parliament.
She previously served as a member of the parliament for the same district and resigned in protest after the Beirut Blast.
Yacoubian is a recipient of several awards, including the “Officer of the Order of the Crown” from King Philippe I of Belgium. She’s also the founder of the Dafa Campaign, an NGO that supplies families in need with essential food.
Yacoubian was also one of the experts chosen by the World Bank Group for its External Advisory Panel for Diversity and Inclusion due to her advocacy for women’s rights, her efforts for women’s empowerment, and for being a fierce defender of an electoral quota for women and a fairer electoral law in Lebanon.
A political activist since the 90s, Cynthia Zarazir ran in the list of the “Li Watani” in Beirut I and secured a “Minorities” seat in parliament.
Zarazir founded the Human Rights Club at the AUT University where the main case was the Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons and the still missing persons of the Lebanese Civil War.
A previous activist in the anti-Syrian occupation movements got her arrested many times. She’s part of the Lebanese Revolution from its very inception, always present in protests and demonstrations in the streets.
Zarazir has been also proactive during the aftermath of the Beirut Blast, standing by the affected and victims, and securing daily meals and medicines. She contributed through a friend group in Lebanon and abroad to the repair and restoration of a number of damaged houses.
Holder of a Ph.D. in Law, Dr. Ayoub is a Legal Advisor at the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission-CNRS, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law & Political Science UL, and Head of the Public Law department.