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
WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN LEBANESE
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
A lebanese woman still can't give her children the lebanese
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
Women are still victims of domestic violence without any
WOMAN'S STATUS IN
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
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
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.
WOMAN'S STATUS IN ISLAM *
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
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.