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 30, 2014

The Daily Star - Shameful inequality, October 30, 2014

Lebanese have made several bids in recent years to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, with the planet’s largest bowl of hummus or tabbouleh, plate of kibbeh, or longest dabkeh dance line.

But this week’s release of an annual global index by the World Economic Forum provides a new opportunity for Lebanon to make its mark in the Guinness book, after the country was ranked 135th out of 142 in gender equality. If a strong campaign is mounted, there’s no reason why Lebanon can’t become the world’s worst country for gender equality, if it can just underperform the competition: Ivory Coast, Iran, Mali, Syria, Chad, Pakistan and Yemen.

The index is a bucket of cold water on those who continue to trumpet the situation of women in Lebanon as being relatively better than the rest of the region.

In fact, Lebanon didn’t even make the region’s top 10.

While the blame for the sorry ranking is easy to assign – laws, attitudes and other factors – women’s rights activists face several serious questions:

Do conferences and social events do anything to help their cause? Helping women become economically productive is good, but can such endeavors lead to significant change?

Boosting Lebanon’s gender equality ranking will require hard work. This isn’t a cause that can be championed for a few hours on a given day, and then put aside. The many groups that devote their time to gender equality must also find a way to pool their efforts so they can speak with one, powerful voice – backed up with the threat of large-scale action – if there is to be any hope of improvement.

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