Notes from the pamphlet introducing the series of talks For a better awareness of women's rights in different constitutions arranged by the The Women's Rights Club at the American University of Beirut in May 1998.


  • In 1996, lebanon signed, with reservation, the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW). Accordingly, Lebanon is commited to eliminate any discrimination between men and women in legislation and in practice. Article No 7 of the Lebanese Constitution guarantees the equality among the lebanese, males and females, in all domains.

  • Till 1974, the public security departments required the signed approval of the husband allowing his wife's traveling, also certified by the mayor, whenever she applied for a passport. This is no more required.

  • Till 1993, a woman's testimony in real estate cases was rejected, the law required the presence of 2 male witnesses to confirm the minutes. This provision is now invalidated.

  • Till 1994, a married woman was not able to do business without her husband's permission. This section of the constitution is now invalidated.

  • A lebanese woman still can't give her children the lebanese nationality.

  • Women are still victims of "Honor Crimes" according to article 562 of the penal law which gives a male murderer a special excuse if he is a father, a son, a brother or a husband.
    Rules concerning adultery still discriminate between a man and a woman in proof methods, the description of the crime and the sentence,

        for a woman: 3 months - 2 years prison.
        for a man: 1 month - i year prison.

  • Rules concerning labor and social security norms still discriminate a working or insured woman and her fellow man in terms of the equality in social services, like family amends [sic.], health services and retirement.

  • Women are still victims of domestic violence without any protection.


  • Both woman and man have the same share in human dignity, and both are endowed with the exact same power of the mind: a fact which enables women to acquire knowledge in any field of their choice and work in whatever domain.

  • Christian teachings disagree with the masculine type our society is being. In fact, Christianity holds women in very high esteem as can be seen through the example of the Virgin Mary: the woman's gift, her spirituality and her role are part of the teachings of the church.

  • The woman shares the sacred secret of marriage, one of the church's Mysteries and this by itself is a proof of the sacred role a woman plays in Christianity.

  • As for, women's financial rights, they follow the civil legislation of the country the woman resides in, (the church not interfering in these matters).

  • There exist christian sects that believe in divorce and others that don't. In both cases, women and men's rights are the same: that is, where he is allowed to divorce she is; where he is not she is not.

  • A woman can be a pastor (leads the prayer) in most Protestant churchs, but cannot be so in traditional sects (due to lack of historical precedent and of texts related to the issue).

  • Even though she is not given the right of pastorship in traditional sects, the woman has played a leading role, spiritually and socially throughout Christian history.

  • As a teacher of theology, a mystic or a social worker, the woman has an essential role in future society.
    Here lies the importance of the Virgin Mary as a model in her strong and successful defiance vis-a-vis the masculine society of her time.

  • We understand the saying of Saint Peter: "Man is the woman's head" in parallel with Christ being the head of the church. Man is only considered a "head" in marital life in regards to sacrifice and work.

* By Metropolitan George Khodor.


  • Islam adopts equality between men and women in humanity and responsibility. They are both called upon to participate in the progress of civilization.

  • Islam establishes equality between men and women in human value and dignity.

  • Islam doesn't just give women the right to education but stipulates it as a religious duty. Women have the right to pursue their personal, economic, and civic activities. A woman has total freedom to do whatever she wants with her estate; she may sell, donate, or bequeath as she wills.

  • A woman may work in any of the legal fields, as is a man. She may participate in political life, elect leaders and take part in governing assemblies, she can enjoy the same carriers [sic.] of men.

  • A marital contract is invalid without the bride's agreement, she has the right to put forward in this contract any conditions she believes will promote stability in her marriage such as the right to divorce herself.

  • One of the main attributes of a woman's independance is that she keeps her family name after marriage.

  • In Islam the husband is the head of the household, yet, this doesn't entail the wife serving her husband. It's up to him to him to hire someone to serve the family, and if he is not able to do so then she may serve the family out of goodwill not as a result of coercion.

  • She is under no delegation [sic.] to spend her money or domestic upkeep, it's the man's duty to support her financially no matter how wealthy she is. In addition a husband doesn't have the right to spend his wife's money unless she authorizes him to do so. She may cancel this authorization or delegate it to someone else as well.

* From "Dunia al-Mar'ah" by Sayyed Moh'd Hussein Fadlallah.

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