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Lebanese Women Council satisfied with its work record while women activists call for change


Al-Nahar newspaper published an article on the “Lebanese Women Council” quoting president Jamal Hermes Ghabreel on its role and achievements, while also reflecting the views of women activists. According to Ghabreel, the council’s major role is to act to cleanse the Lebanese legislations from any form of discrimination against women , and to combat violence against women, while ensuring that Lebanon abides with international laws and right conventions so that the women are able to fully practice their rights at all levels; local, regional and international. Furthermore, the council aims at building women’s capacities to get involved in decision making at economic, social, educational and levels.
As for the achievements, Ghabreel pointed out the council’s various historical successes in both legal and development sector which were achieved in collaboration with other associations, while referring to women’s right to vote and run for elections, equality in inheritance between men and women for Christians, in addition to women’s right to choose their nationality after marriage. Currently the council is focusing on drawing plans and strategies for achieving new success in right issues, for putting in place new mechanisms to tackle both rural and urban women issues, and to draw the youth population into support women’s demands.
On the other hand, the president of The National Committee for the Follow up of Women's Issues, Dr. Fahmieh Sharafeddin, criticized the council’s current orientation, and ways of operating, since in her opinion the functioning of the council is based on political and sectarian lines, and because it was no able to boost its membership. She added that the present realities of women in Lebanon call for a radical change in laws and vision so as to challenge patriarchal cultural traditions. Moreover, the president of the Lebanese Democratic Women Gathering, Joumana Merhi, considered that the council’s vision must be broadened to include all human right issues and to achieve full equality between men and women.  Merhi also indicated that the problem lies in the council’s structure and the approach of its members that shun away from tackling personal and family law issues which are largely religiously based.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Lebanese Women Council was established on the 6th of November 1952, after the merger of the League of Lebanese Women Associations, set up in 1920 with the Lebanese Women Solidarity group, formed in 1947. Currently the council includes 170 recognized women group providing various services such as caring, health, rehabilitation, education, environment, and supporting women’s rights.

Source: Al-Nahar 4 January 2013

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