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Seminar in Parliament on strengthening women’s participation in political life


A seminar, entitled “Women in Parliament”, was held in parliament yesterday and was concluded by a strong reaffirmation of the need to lift all forms of discrimination against women and to strengthen their involvement in political life and in decision-making processes, given the critical importance of role of women in development and in order to legally uphold the rights of women. The seminar was organised in the framework of a project aiming at strengthening women’s participation in government and development and which is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Affairs in cooperation with the Italian Embassy – the Office of Italian Cooperation. The project seeks to promote and strengthen the capacities of women to participate in the political life and to access decision-making positions.
The seminar commenced with a speech by the Italian Ambassador in Lebanon, who indicated that women’s active political participation and their significant participation in the democratic processes of decision-making should be of great interest to and benefit for the entire political and social system. For his part, the Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Wael Abou Faoor drew the attention to the importance of the seminar and the role it can play by opening the door for prominent women figures so that they can clearly articulate the key societal issues and concerns from their own perspective. He also alluded to various programs and services undertaken by his Ministry and targeting women through vocational training, reproductive health services fighting illiteracy, and mainstreaming the concept of gender in plans and programs of his ministry.
For his part, MP, Yassine Jaber outlined the current realities in Parliament, stating that the problem is not of low women’s representation (!!??) but is the need to strengthen women’s representation (!!!??), reminding the participants in the seminar that there is no law that prohibits a woman from running in elections, but what is needed is to empower women. In that respect, he pointed out to some 26 law proposals which were adopted to strengthen the participation of the woman, and to attain gender equality (!!??).
The floor was then opened for various interventions by women researchers and activists: Zeina Abdel Khaleq addressed the issue of gender equality, Carmen Jeh7a presented the findings from a study on the realities of women within political parties, Mariam El Shami spoke about special legislations for women, Nada Zaarour about women and the environment, Elizabeth Zakhariyya Siufi and Afifa el Sayyed about citizenship, Zoya Ruhana about violence against women, Rola Murad on women and rural development, Manal el Hurani about the elderly, Abir Abdel Samad about women situation in prisons, Nabila Babti about education, Graziella Karam about the media, Tsolair Talantian about political parties, Marmelle Bustani on removing differences in law between men and women, Angelic Khalil on the role of women in political parties, Rana Sa2adeh on women and laws”, and finally, Ghida Anani about gender equality.
Source: Al-Mustaqbal, Al-Nahar 7 October 2013

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