Lebanon: EU-funded workshop for stronger participation by women in political life
On 3 July, the UNDP Lebanese Elections Assistance Programme (LEAP) organized the EU-funded workshop “Electoral Systems and Women’s Participation” in Beirut - where local candidates, activists and members from the international community came together to discuss how different electoral systems may facilitate greater participation by women in the upcoming Lebanese elections.
Many participants at the workshop were women already registered as candidates for the parliamentary elections scheduled for earlier this year, but which were then postponed. H.E. Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Lebanon, stressed that "Women’s political representation is a matter of justice and democracy, and democracy is not only about the right to vote, it is also about the right to be elected, in and out".
As the Lebanese Parliament is expected to soon evaluate all the possibilities for a new electoral system for polls next year, the workshop primarily focused on illustrating several measures that could enhance the representation of women as elected officials, such as different forms of quotas, reduced candidacy fees, higher spending ceilings and other innovative incentives.
According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Lebanon is currently ranked 136 in the world concerning women's participation in political life, with the current Parliament comprising only 4 women out of 128 deputies (3.1%).
Funded by the European Union, USAID and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UNDP LEAP seeks to support the holding of transparent and inclusive elections in Lebanon through strengthening capacity in (1) election management (2) campaign supervision (3) voter education (4) electoral dispute resolution, and (5) promoting women’s participation in elections as both candidates and voters.