30.1.06

Gender Equality

Quite a few gender inequalities exist, whether they be social or legal. One of them involves the restrictions on Lebanese mothers passing the nationality down to their children if the father isn't Lebanese.

An initiative to change this has existed for some time - the Daily Star had an article on this in November. The reason I'm just mentioning this specific issue instead of dealing with more general civil rights is that IRIN, part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, has a recent report on this as well. The CRTD actually released a report (Lebanon is dealt with on p.11) in 2004. It is interesting to note the following:


While Lebanon acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1997, it placed a reservation on the article that stipulates that "states parties shall grant women equal rights with respect to the nationality of their children".

The reservation exempts the government from having to implement the Article.

This is only one example of the inequalities that exist - whether they be gender, or racial. There are NGO's working for such civil rights, but how successful they are depends on how much society is involved. Life may eventually become more equal for us all, but how fast that dream is realized depends on how willing we are to push for reform. After all,


Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.

- Khalil Gibran

15 Comments:

At Monday, January 30, 2006 4:49:00 AM, Blogger callipyge said...

Aww come on!! I think all the Lebanese people are MORE than ready to give that right to women. The ones who are not ready have their fat asses sitting in the parliament or in Baabda. It is not a social issue, it is a political one.

I personally will end up being a victim of this discrimination because my husband is American and not Lebanese, and I say: Too bad for Lebanon! But of course, if my future children will grow up to be geniuses or celebrities, Lebanon will be the first to claim everywhere that they're Lebanese. And I'll say "Nope, but I did wipe their baby butts with my passport a couple of times".

Ok, I'll stop my rant now. This topic makes me ANGRY as you can see.

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006 10:48:00 AM, Blogger Jamal said...

I love the irony of it all. The Lebanese would kill for a foreign passport, yet they wouldn't give a lebanese one to those who ARE Lebanese.

Callipyge- I consider our politicians(well not just ours) to be the lowest dirtiest species in the animal kingdom, but in this specific case the problem lies in Bkirki, with all due respect to his emminence.

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Jamal said...

Let me add Aicha Bakkar and Tareek El Mataar to those guilty. Not that they have been any better on similar issues, i.e. civil marriage.

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006 12:14:00 PM, Blogger Delirious said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006 1:53:00 PM, Blogger Eve said...

according to crtd, the answer they're mainly getting is: "come back later, this is not a priority right now". apparently, politicians are busy discussing a new electoral law at the moment & I'm not sure If it'll ever be the time. after all, who says this issue isn't about politics as well?

I have also heard of a group called "foreign dads" (or something like that) where the dads themselves demand passing down the mother's nationality to their children.

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006 2:20:00 PM, Blogger Delirious said...

An interesting study was made by Drs. Aman Kabbara Chaarani and Fahmieh Charafeddine (Committee for the Follow Up on Women's Issues - CWUFI) about gender discrimination in Arabic reading books for children
التمييز في كتب القراءة والتربية الوطنية والتنشئة المدنية في المرحلة الابتدائية.
I have a few extra copies at hand for anyone interested.

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006 4:56:00 PM, Blogger Eve said...

yih, I just got a copy of it two days ago, Del. it's really interesting & shocking.

the picture with the mother embracing her two boys, while her daughter is left behind;
the picture where women are always nurses and teachers, while men doctors and active workers;
the picture where all men in the bus are reading, while women are sitting still etc...

it's like we were brainwashed during elementary school!

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006 6:52:00 PM, Blogger ferneine said...

le recours à la poésie et au système de prose en général dans les débats sociaux ou politiques n'avancent en rien la représentation du discours et la résolution des problèmes - à bon entendeur - sorry i didn't feel like writin this in english

 
At Monday, January 30, 2006 7:09:00 PM, Blogger callipyge said...

I dont know if you guys remember, but last time I was in Beirut (january 05) the "Hariri mosque" was still under construction and was surrounded by this big kind of wall with decorations on it. The decoration showed a baby boy being born, then growing up to play boy, then going to school or something, then meeting a girl and holding hands, then working (the boy only), then getting married, then they show the girl again being pregnant, then the girl holding her baby while saying bye bye to the husband as he goes away to work. SO FREAKING SEXIST. I felt like defacing that wall, but it was close to a mosque so, out of respect, I did not do anything.

 
At Tuesday, January 31, 2006 12:23:00 AM, Blogger zwixo said...

You're contradincting yourself Callipyge, you state that the people are so ready then comes the boy example. We all agree that our politicians are shit that is made of shit, but who changes those, the people. What people, our pussyass people who elected the same assholes in the last elections, our people who never took the rights to the streets but went down to cheer a butcher or a religious fanatic. The people is responsible first, we who think the rights should be given are still less than enough, let's hope we become enough soon... enough.

 
At Tuesday, January 31, 2006 1:40:00 AM, Blogger Lazarus said...

well ... the reason i posted this is related to the answer that CRTD got - which eve wrote above: "this is not a priority now". it is a priority. as are other things. we should be able to handle more than one thing at a time ... but apparently we can't.

i disagree with callipyge in that ALL the lebanese people are more than ready to do this. this is a detail that has been discussed since the early 90's, and falls under the general category of "women deserve less than men." you have probably felt that in lebanon more than i have. and it isn't just this. some of the laws on other more serious things (such as, for example, the inheritance a wife gets when her husband dies depends on whether the bank account was in his name, or in both their names!?). the list goes on ...

the issue that really bugs me is that i have a feeling a very small minority actually knows about these initiatives. and that is a true shame. our civil rights won't be obtained with the whim of a politician, or the heads of the various sects. don't you think it is time for a civil rights movement?

 
At Tuesday, January 31, 2006 7:07:00 AM, Blogger callipyge said...

Lazarus: could you write more about that bank account thing in another post? It's the first time I hear of anything like this and would like to know more.

 
At Tuesday, January 31, 2006 8:08:00 AM, Blogger Lazarus said...

well, i don't know enough legal details to write a comprehensive post ... so here goes. the exact inheritance law applicable in lebanon depends on the sect (as usual) since this supercedes civil rights. even in the case of a civil marriage, which might be recognized legally, the actual laws applicable can be religious.

so this brings us to inheritance. i won't generalize, since different sects have different laws (the sunni version of inheritance is different from the catholic one, for example), but the example I am familiar with is as follows:

if the children are under 18 when the father passed away, and if the wealth is left in under his name at the time (whether it is a bank account or whatnot), then most of the money would have gone to the children. however, because the state "cares" for the children, it doesn't give them the money at once, for fear that the wife might steal the children's rightful share. so what happens? they store the money (and take a percentage), and give a monthly allowance which depends on the number of children (and which isn't enough to exactly live on comfortably) until they become 18. what is even more interesting, is that if it is the mother who passes away, then all the above is not applicable. discrimination at its best (or worst, depending how you look at it) ...

now, in the case of a bank account, if the account is in an "and/or" nature, then there is no problem, because the inheritance is rightfully the widow's.

of course, this is all assuming that the deceased's family doesn't intend on battling the wife for whatever money exists in the first place ...

 
At Tuesday, January 31, 2006 8:17:00 AM, Blogger micha said...

This particular issue does not only discriminate against Lebanese women, it has a wider reach. The Palestinian residents in the refugee camps! This decision or reservation from was never ruled out, fearing a backlash from young palestinian marrying Lebanese women & obtaining the passport etc. You mention the children part, but the issue begins with our husbands -the fathers.
This goes deeper than women equality, this tastes Racism,Denial of basic rights .Mm

 
At Wednesday, February 01, 2006 7:51:00 PM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Oh, pity the nation! If we can't start with the very basic notion of the equality of the sexes, a major tenet of civilized humanity, how can we ever hope to go beyond it to more complex issues of civil marriage and secular personal law, refugee rights, gay rights, etc.? And I am not asking rhetorically here. Does anyone know of things actually happening out there to make a change to these laws (initiatives, petitions, etc.)? If there isn't anything, what can we do as a community of supposedly enlightened bloggers to start something? Anyone with legal expertise reading? Links? Websites? If not, who can start something?
Another point I'd like to make is that I don't think we should be even discussing whether "people are ready" or not. The question is, do we believe women to be equal, in every respect--in terms of rights, duties, privileges and obligations--to men? I do, and I'm a man, and I'd like to believe that all the women do (you'd better!). So, there you have a majority! Whether public opinion is still backwards or not, it is time to change it. If we let the uninformed public opinion dictate what is right and wrong, we are down the drain! There are basic tenets to civilized humanity, and I think this, equality of the sexes, is--if not the top most--then definitely way up there!

 

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