Lebanese women look for greater role in parl polls
Beirut: Lebanon is campaigning to get at least five times more women elected to parliament this spring in its first vote in nearly 10 years, the country's first women's affairs minister says. It is a daunting task for a Middle Eastern country that may otherwise look like one of the most liberal in the region.
Despite a relatively free press, diverse religious groups and women in prominent positions in the business world and the media, Lebanon ranks surprisingly low when it comes to female representation in politics, and politicians have failed to act on a movement to institute a quota for women in parliament. "Keeping women from public life is not only a loss for women. It is a loss for the parliament," Minister of State for Women's Affairs Jean Oghassabian told The Associated Press.
"The main obstacles are mentality, a philosophy of life, and this needs time," he said.