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The National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) organised a high level closing event today to showcase the achievements of the EU-funded project “Gender Equity and Empowerment of Women in Lebanon”.
The successful results of the project and the outcome of an advocacy study for the adoption of a quota system for women in Lebanon were revealed at the event. This was followed by a panel debate on women participation in political processes and aspects of quota systems in which participated H.E. Jean Oghassabian, Minister of State for Women’s affairs, Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union and former Minister Wafaa Dika Hamza, Secretary General of the Coalition "Women for Politics".
In his opening speech, the Secretary General of NCLW, Mr. Fadi Karam, highlighted the project's achievements in enhancing NCLW's capacity and in opening new horizons to ensure the outreach to civil society through the establishment of the National Coalition to support women political participation in Lebanon, that aims to adopt a women's quota in the electoral law to be agreed upon. He added that NCLW benefited from the expertise and knowledge of the project's experts such in integrating Gender in all public institutions and the creation of an instrument for the establishment of an observatory for women's rights.
Ambassador Lassen said: "In Lebanon, women represent around 53% of the country's population. They are active in the public and private sector, but usually not, or only to a limited extent, at management and top management level." "The tireless work of civil society has paved the way and advanced the debate on women’s rights, including their right to political representation in Lebanon. I encourage you to deepen the spirit of partnership between government institutions and civil society. Joining forces of both - the Ministry and the National Commission for the Lebanese Women is essential to achieving women’s full participation in the economic, social, political and cultural development of the country," she added.
During the panel, Minister Oghassabian said that "through their presence, women can enrich the government. They can be productive and have an impact on all levels, and can become essential for improving the work of the government." For her part, former Minister Hamza confirmed that the main message of the "Coalition for Women" is the inclusion of at least 30% quota in the upcoming parliamentary elections. This ensures that a democratic and constitutional process is in place that is based on values of social justice and equality and respects Lebanon’s international commitments to women and human rights. This will enable Lebanon to progress towards democracy and to cease being one of the countries I in the world with the lowest women representation in Parliament.
The project “Gender Equity and empowerment of Women in Lebanon” was funded with a grant of 800 000 Euro from the EU under the “Promotion of Social Justice” programme, with the objective to advocate for democracy, good governance, human rights and gender equality. The project contributed to these objectives through the provision of technical support to the NCLW and other relevant stakeholders and their internal governance processes, with the aim to mainstream gender equality and women’s rights at policy level. The main results of the project include the development of a gender mainstreaming toolkit, an enhanced cooperation between the NCLW and civil society, the launching of a media and advocacy campaign and the enhancement of capacities of Gender Focal Points in all Lebanese ministries among others.