Women around the world have come a hard long way. The month of March is known to be Women’s history month and the 8th of this month marks International Women’s Day.
However, unfortunately, this Tuesday in Lebanon no march was organized although many NGOs and initiatives organized special events.
In his statement meant to honor this day, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, unsurprisingly, didn’t hesitate to use expressions referring to women as secondary, calling them “key partners” and “companions.”
And yet, Lebanese women are not sitting on the side of the paths of men in the country. If they are not among those ensuring their wellbeing and sustenance, they are handling pivotal roles in all vital sectors.
Women in Lebanon have proven their strength and value all through history by fighting for their rights and their country and making Lebanon a better place to live and endure.
They had to endure wars, revolutions, blasts, and destructions while working in rebuilding towards a peacebuilding society and lifting those in need across countless humanitarian causes.
They were actively present in the aftermath of the Beirut Blast and have been actively demanding reforms since the recent revolution, a Thawra that wore their female gender as widely acclaimed.
They were also the ones that stopped a military conflict in Chiah and Ain El Remmaneh that could have driven the country into another civil war. They are also the ones that initiated the human chain from south to north that brought the world in awe.
Lebanese women’s achievements go from getting the right to vote in 1952 to the Abrogation of the law of article 522, where a rapist could escape his prison sentence if he marries the victim.
This law was abrogated thanks to multiple feminist movements and campaigns, notably “A white dress doesn’t cover the rape”. Moreover, we can recall the law that criminalized sexual harassment in 2020 but yet doesn’t cover the victims enough.
However, we can’t yet say that women and men are equal in Lebanese society and under the law.
Today Lebanon is part of one of the 25 countries in the world where a woman can’t yet pass Lebanese citizenship to her children unless she’s married to a Lebanese.
Another example is in cases of divorce where husbands have automatic rights of the children’s custody. In cases of sexual harassment, women filing a lawsuit against the predators are not guaranteed justice or protection.
Even if women had long acquired the right to vote, access to ministerial positions is restricted to the very few who are usually brought in by ruling political parties.
Taking a look at the formation of governments in Lebanon shows the striking reality of the gender inequality that exists across the country in many aspects and sectors.
These are only a few of the many battles women in Lebanon have still to undertake for their values to be equally honored as those of men.
International Women’s Day 2022 is not yet a day of celebration for them, but a day to remind the nation about the fight for the Lebanese women’s right to live in dignity.
Hence, today, we celebrate not International Women’s Day per se but these Lebanese women who are pivotal to Lebanon and its beating heart, as they are making a difference towards a healthier and better country.