Over the past two years, and in the framework of “Arab Civil Society Actors and their Quest to Influence Policy-Making” research project, the Issam Fares Institute (IFI) research team focused on several issues prevalent in the landscape of the Lebanese civil society during the past three decades. Among the most significant were the cases around gender that are shaped by local as well as regional social, economic, and political developments. IFI's “Civil Society Actors and Policymaking in the Arab World” research team probed the intertwinement of women’s rights with political factions that deny the right of citizenship to children and foreign spouses of Lebanese women, the religious institutions and their courts, as well as the economic powers that feed off of the sponsorship or Kafala system. This exploration helped depict the long-lasting impact on the struggle of women who had been carrying out this unjust fight in Lebanon.
We hereby present the four case studies written by women researchers that shed light on conspicuous issues reviewed and scrutinized to provide a credible account that demonstrates the weaknesses and strengths of the feminist struggle in Lebanon. From the perspective of law and that of strategies, and the narratives of success and failure, these cases address subjects of the nationality law, abolishing the rape law, custody battles in religious courts, and the Kafala system which takes hostage migrant workers in Lebanon. Through of a serious yet urgent discussion, these cases touched on the many paths undertaken by the feminist movement in Lebanon regarding the aforementioned issues, in addition to tackling the media and funding factors vis a vis the power dynamics of political and religious parties. These case studies are for you to reflect on, hoping that they set the ground for a fruitful discussion among readers, individuals, policymakers, as well as women activists and feminists who put their heart and soul into rectifying legal and social shortcomings in our society today.
Read the four case studies here