6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are?

Lebanon has made significant progress towards achieving gender equality in Lebanon. The female illiteracy rate (as % of population 15 and Over) dropped from 27% in 1990 to 17.8% in 2003. The same rate (as % of population 15 to 24) dropped from 11% in 1990 to 5% in 2003. Primary School Enrolment for females (As Gross % of School Age Population) rose from 76.2% in 1990 to 89.4% in 2001, and Secondary School Enrolment for females (as Gross % of School Age Population) rose to 79% in 2002. Seats in parliament held by women rose from three in 2000 to six in 2005. Though still few (only 6 out of 128 MPs are women), it denotes some progress, and in 2004 for the first time women have held Ministerial positions, a total of two.

School enrolment rates for both males and females are high in Lebanon; and primary education (age groups: 5-9 and 10-14) is almost universal. The net enrolment rate recorded an increase from 91.5 per cent in 2001-2002 to 97.1 per cent in 2005-2006. This rate corresponds to 98.3 and 93.8 per cent respectively for boys and girls in the same year.

Official unemployment rates (2004) for those aged 15 years and more are estimated at 8% and is higher for females (9.6%) than males (7.4%). Highest unemployment is recorded in the 15-19 years and 20-24 years age groups (27% and 17.3%, respectively). The same trend follows for females where unemployment reaches 26.3% for those aged 15-19 years, 17.3% for the 20-24 years age group, and 10.7% for the 24-29 years age group.

On another hand, a promising progress in women political participation is the increasing number of women judges (42%) of overall judges, and it is expected that this figure will increase by 2011 to 60%. Statistics by the Ministry of Justice show that the current number of judges in higher courts is 446 (300 men and 146 women), knowing that they will be joined in the near future by 63 new judges, of whom 40 are women i.e. around 42% of the total number of judges.

As for the economic participation of females in Lebanon, analysis of female economic activity per region indicates that 69.3% of employed females are in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, whereas 10.6% are in North Lebanon, 6.7% are in Bekaa, and 13.3% are in South Lebanon and Nabatiye.

Gender differences in distribution per professional categories are evident, with more concentration of the female workers in the professionals, office employees, service workers, and unskilled labor categories, compared to higher male worker concentration in management, skilled workers, and drivers categories.

UNDP's work in Lebanon


    Women's Cooperatives in Lebanon empowered by the sweet taste of success
    Women's Cooperatives in Lebanon empowered by the sweet taste of success

    After the July 2006 war severely damaged Lebanon's socio-economic and infrastructure, the establishment of income-generating projects in highly war-affected areas, especially projects targeting women was crucial to support the infrastructural and agricultural services and cooperatives.more

0.84 years
until 2015

1990 2015
Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament