International NGO Releases Survey Findings on Women's Political Standing in Lebanon

Publication Date: 
17 Feb 2010

News Type:

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems presents data as part of SWMENA project

BEIRUT—Key findings from a national survey on Lebanese political attitudes and practices were released today by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). The data gives much insight into the status of women in Lebanon.

The survey confirmed that while women in Lebanon are not as politically active as men, there is no gender gap in voter participation. In fact, women had a slightly higher voter turnout than men in the June 2009 parliamentary elections: 80% said they voted vs. 78% of men, though the difference is not statistically significant.

According to respondents, the three most important factors that influence voting choices are similar among men and women: candidates who are not corrupt, services that candidates provide to their area, and candidate’s platform.

The survey also shows that, surprisingly, more women (64%) than men (54%) oppose creating an optional civil marriage law so that couples have the ability to marry outside of religious establishments.

Other data reveals opinions on highly salient issues of the moment including how much support exists for the introduction of gender quotas in parliament and reform of laws governing marriage and family. The survey has also collected new data on women’s economic and political participation, social autonomy, and access to healthcare.

The findings are disaggregated by gender, religion and education level in order to better understand the population.

The survey was conducted as part of IFES’ Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa (SWMENA) project, which seeks to propel the efforts of local nonprofits working to improve the standing of women in the MENA region. The first phase of the SWMENA project is to acquire scientific survey data in three countries‐ Lebanon, Morocco, and Yemen‐ to accurately identify and properly address the areas of greatest need for women. The second phase of the project is to deliver the data to local nonprofit advocacy groups or individuals who focus on women’s issues, and train them to use the information to better advance their goals.

Lebanon is the first of the three countries for which this data is available. The survey findings and training to effectively use them were presented to local groups and academics on February 17 and 18 in Beirut.

###

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is the world’s premiere election assistance organization, providing countries with technical advice and tools to run democratic elections.