Appointment of a male women’s minister slammed by Lebanese women


Jean Ogasapian
Jean Ogasapian
Women’s rights activists slammed on Monday the appointment of a man to head Lebanon’s newly created Women’s Affairs Ministry

The group also said that women were sorely underrepresented in the newly created Cabinet.

“Is it acceptable to appoint a male minister to the Women’s Affairs Ministry?” asked a statement

“Is this the consecration of the patriarchal system in Lebanon or is this due to a lack of competent women for the job?”  the statement, which was carried by the National News Agency added

Prime Minister Saad Hariri disclosed his new 30-member Cabinet Sunday, in which Jean Ogasapian became Minister of State for Women’s Affairs.  Ogasapian 62 is a member of the  Future Movement party, where his official biography notes that he had a lengthy career in the Lebanese army until he quit to go into politics in 2000. He has considerable political experience: In 2005, he was appointed as administrative reforms minister in the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and he was a state minister in Hariri’s’ 2009 government.

The new government  featured Lebanon’s first “minister of state for women’s affairs,” a welcome development in a country where women have little representation in politics but women were  outraged when they found out that  Lebanon’s first minister for women is a man.

The women activists also deplored the poor representation of females  in the Cabinet, in which only one woman was appointed: Einaya Ezzedine, Minister of State for Administrative Development.

The group  said the failure to appoint female ministers amounted to marginalization, “especially after the promises made by the heads of political parties and parliamentary blocs in support of women and enhancing their role in the new government.”

“What happened was a major disappointment and broke promises that were made,” the statement added.

The group also called on ministers to show commitment to women’s rights by including a quota for women in the forthcoming Cabinet policy statement.

A quota guaranteeing women 30 percent of government posts was necessary, it said, “as a special temporary measure for women’s access to leadership positions in politics and public affairs.”

Out of 128 lawmakers at Parliament, currently there are only four female MPs – Nayla Tueni, Bahia Hariri, Strida Geagea and Gilberte Zouein.