The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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October 29, 2014

The Daily Star - Lebanon ranked eighth worst country for gender equality, October 29, 2014

Nizar Hassan

Lebanon is the world’s eighth worst country in terms of gender equality and ranks second worst for women’s participation in politics, according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum.

Lebanon ranked 135 out of 142 surveyed countries, with only the Ivory Coast, Iran, Mali, Syria, Chad, Pakistan and Yemen scoring lower on the 2014 Gender Gap Index.

Although Lebanese women are often considered privileged compared to those in other Arab countries because of the liberties they enjoy, they are far behind in terms of their participation in politics.

There were no female ministers in the previous government and women hold a mere 3 percent of seats in Parliament. Lebanon’s ranking for equal political participation was 141 out of 142, behind Brunei. Although all Arab and Gulf countries did better than Lebanon, they too scored very low in terms of women’s political participation.

Since 2010, Lebanon’s ranking has sunk from 116 to 135.

The top 10 countries for gender equality in the Middle East are, in order: Israel, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Tunisia, Bahrain, Algeria, Oman, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

At the other end of the list were Scandinavian countries, which surpassed all other regions in respect to the involvement of their women in public life and their treatment.

Iceland topped the list, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and then Denmark.

In addition to political empowerment, the overall rank was based on three main categories for women: participation in the labor force and opportunities available, educational achievement, and health care and survival rate.

Lebanon was the eighth worst country in the world in terms of female participation in the workforce, and ninth worst in terms of income for women.

According to health criteria, the country did much better, coming in at No. 62, but education was another disappointment.

Although literacy rates in Lebanon are at 86 percent and enrollment in primary education is at 90 percent, the numbers were still behind those of progressive countries, which pushed Lebanon down the table to spot No. 103 and 128 in those two categories respectively.

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