When will Lebanese women receive equality under the law?

I can’t get over the amount of fantastic publications that are currently in circulation here in Lebanon. Every time I come across another one, and this time it’s Hibr, I feel like I’ve been missing out.. There aren’t enough hours in the day to digest all of the great content out there!!..but rest assured, I am trying my best.

I was handed this copy of Hibr while at the Geekfest last week, and the first thing that caught my attention was the huge blurb on the front page reading, “I’m pregnant..now what?” The article, written by Ali Wehbe, is excellent. I have been preparing a response, but seeing how abortion is such a culturally sensitive issue here in Lebanon and in the region, my response will come later on in the week.. once I have given it a bit more thought..



But for now, I want to comment on another article in this month’s issue titled, “Lebanese women not satisfied with second class,” by Rita Chemaly.



*I know this is nothing new to anyone, but I thought it was worth talking about again.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our lives that we forget those causes that really need our support!*

Anyway, the article discusses “Article 1 of the 1925 Nationality Law that states that Lebanese citizenship is granted only to those born of Lebanese fathers..which essentially means that a Lebanese woman married to a foreign man does not have the right to pass on her nationality to her husband or children, while a foreign woman marrying a Lebanese man is entitled to citizenship for herself and her children.”

I was aware of this law previously, but what I wasn’t aware of.. was that “because foreign husbands, and children from a marriage between a Lebanese woman and a non-Lebanese man are considered residents and NOT citizens, they must obtain residency and work permits and renew them each year.” maaaaaan! ARE YOU SERIOUS? …I’m shaking my head as I write this!…

According to Chemaly, “public figures who are opposed to amending the archaic law say that they are concerned about the implications to the balance of power in government, as the Lebanese political system is based on religious demographics.”

And all of this time, I thought legislators were give the power to make laws for the benefit OF THE PEOPLE and not for their own self-interest!  It’s almost as if this law was put into place to punish Lebanese women for daring to marry a man who isn’t Lebanese.

I am disgusted, disappointed, FURIOUS.  I’m not even Lebanese, and this saddens me so much.

What can I say other than I wholeheartedly support the associations, such as “Fathers and Sons for Citizenship,” the campaigns such as “My Citizenship is my Right and my Family’s Right,” and “My Nationality is the Right of my Children,” as well as all of the people who are lobbying for the amendment of Article 1 of the 1925 Nationality Law to include the following statement: “Any person born of a Lebanese father or mother shall be granted Lebanese citizenship.” That’ll be the day…won’t it.

Join the Nationality Campaign’s facebook page by clicking here, and the join the cause by clicking here!

Lebanese women equality under the law

join the facebook page!

Lebanese women's rights to pass down nationality

Join the cause on facebook!

If you know of any other ways that I can contribute please let me know.


Filed under life in Lebanon

12 responses to “When will Lebanese women receive equality under the law?

  1. An excellent article Danielle and one that infuriates me. Thanks so much for writing about this.

  2. Patrick

    Great post!

    Unfortunately a large portion of the Lebanese population is against changing the law too (mainly for xenophobic reasons) so I fear this issue will stay unresolved until the issue of Palestinians in Lebanon gets resolved too, which might take a while …

    Still, we can always hope!

  3. Haneen

    Great Post…but whats even more disgusting is this: My mother is lebanese and my dad Palestinian but born and raised in Lebanon. And we just like many others own homes and land, which are all in my mothers name since, my father is not allowed to own property.. SO if god forbid and something happens to my mother, her children (brothers and I ) will no inherit her, because we are not citizens. So my uncles will inherit her and if they are nice enough to sell and give it to us, then we’re in luck and if not..then sucks to be us…if thats not disgusting ..i dunno what is…

  4. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to women rights. Up to not long ago (last year) a Lebanese women could not travel with her minor kids unless she has a written permission from her husband. A woman is (legally) still not allowed to wear shorts or miniskirts and walk on the street (I think a fellow blogger wrote about this not long ago, can’t remember whom)…etc. And the most unjust and unfair treatment for women is witnessed in religious courts.

  5. Joanna

    Although this law was passed in 1925, it persists till today specifically so that Palestinian (refugee) men don’t get the nationality from their Lebanese wives… Lebanon has never reconciled with itself over where it stands with regards to Palestine, and that’s why innocent people will continue to pay the price until the right of return is either implemented or completely dropped. It’s the sad truth.. the law that gives Palestinians the right to work and be on social security was only recently passed.. and they’ve been here since 1948.. can you imagine the hell they’ve been through?

    Lebanon sucks 😦

  6. I’ve only been here for three months, but slowly, I am learning more about Women’s Rights. In order to understand one’s rights in a society, one must understand what that society perceives their role to be.

    I’m exploring Gender Roles in Lebanon this week on my blog at http://www.sandpail.wordpress.com. How do you understand gender roles in Lebanon? I’ve been indirectly having this conversation with some of my Lebanese friends. I found your blog, and I’m curious to know your opinion.

  7. SISSA

    Watch this new video showcasing the efforts of the nationality campaign!

  8. Thank you for republishing and commenting the article!
    indeed, the Nationality issue is a big problem, because few people truly consider changing the law: they are afraid of changing Lebanon identity toward a Muslim country. 😦
    another article i wrote recently tackles the issue of discrimination and inequality. while waiting to read your comments.

  9. Amina

    The right to own land in Lebanon is treated very seriously. We don’t just give this right to anyone. If Palestinians were allowed to own land in Lebanon, Lebanon would be flooded with palestinians coming to buy land, and settle in lebanon. Lebanon is a developing country, constantly being set back, struggling, it cannot support its own people, how about a flood of refugees. Its loyalty is to the people first. It cannot provide jobs/security etc. This isn’t discrimination against Palestinians. Its an act to protect itself first or else lebanon would become palestine. Even other foreigners have a limit to land purchase and have very strict rules. Go to other areas of the arab world, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar….. and on, they do not allow anyone outside their people to own anything -same as leb – nationality passes through the man. As for other foreigners (non-palestinians) married to lebanese women, they are allowed to own land, but there are rules on how much etc. only 3% of lebanon, is allowed to be foreignly owned. There are many implications- ultimately lebanon is for the lebanese!

  10. Pingback: Imagine Lebanon WITHOUT women | This is Beirut

  11. Ali

    I just read this, a bit late [I know] :P. Cool review, and I even got a shout-out! :p

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