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Hope for less male-dominated politics in Lebanon

Over the last weeks, Lebanon has been witnessing an unprecedented uprising – both in scale and intensity. ”Women of all ages and classes have been extremely visible and have taken up a prominent role, demanding gender equality,” says Julie Gromellon Rizk, Kvinna till Kvinna's head of office in Beirut.

Feminist march in Lebanon on November 3, 2019. Protesters with a sign saying ”I am going to make the system fall”. Photo: Julie Gromellon Rizk / Kvinna till Kvinna
Feminist march in Lebanon on November 3, 2019. Protesters with a sign saying ”I am going to make the system fall”. Photo: Julie Gromellon Rizk / Kvinna till Kvinna

”The uprising in Lebanon is fuelled by the corruption of the ruling class, a deepening social crisis and austerity measures. Women and feminists are raising their voices against the corruption but also against the legal discriminations and family restrictions reinforced by the sectarian state,” explains Julie Gromellon Rizk.

Last week, Lebanon’s prime minister Saad al-Hariri resigned.

”The very presence of women in public spaces is changing the nature of the movement and challenging the notion that women cannot be on the frontline during uprisings. Women were an integral part of the protests that led to the resignation of the Prime Minister,” says Julie Gromellon Rizk.

Now, there is a hope that the male-dominated politics will not return, and that women will not be excluded from a new system.

”If a new system is going to be,” says Julie Gromellon Rizk.

”More women joining every day”

Kvinna till Kvinna has been supporting women’s rights organisations in Lebanon since 2005. One of our current partner organisations is The collective for research and training on development-action, CRTD.A, with co-founder and Chair of the Board Lina Abou-Habib. She explains how the protests have revolved around bringing down the current regime and demanding immediate solutions to the economic crisis that has plagued the country over the past few years, among other things.

CRTD.A is a driving force in the struggle for Lebanese women’s right to transfer citizenship to their family members: today, only Lebanese fathers and husbands can do so.

”The nationality campaign is consistently bringing up its demand as an integral part of the call for reform and change. In fact, women in Lebanon and from the diaspora have been extraordinarily active in shaping their messages, constructing their narratives and putting these out as one of the main demands for reforms. This is being done on a daily basis with more women joining every day. In addition, and when asked about their demands, random women demonstrating on the streets says that they want an egalitarian nationality law,” says Lina Abou-Habib.

According to Lina Abou-Habib, many young women have emerged as eloquent spokespersons and analysts, as well as reliable interlocutors with the media, during the protests.

Lina Abou-Habib, co-founder and Chair of the Board for The collective for research and training on development-action (CRTD.A). Photo: Christopher Herwig
Lina Abou-Habib, co-founder and Chair of the Board for The collective for research and training on development-action (CRTD.A). Photo: Christopher Herwig
7 November 2019

Kvinna till Kvinna in Lebanon

Kvinna till Kvinna has supported women’s rights in Lebanon since 2005. In a challenging context, marred by instability and gender inequality, our partners combat gender-based violence, offer support to women and girls who have survived abuse, and advocate for the rights of all women living in Lebanon.