Empowerment of rural women in the Mediterranean region. Rural women in three Mediterranean Countries.

Liban carte

-          In Lebanon, there is no census since 1932. This matter is related to the confessional system of Lebanon and the balance of power established lately by the Ta’if agreement in 1989. It is not easy to collect data on the ground as well, as for the unstable situation of Lebanon and security reasons

-          Despite all this, there are noteworthy studies that tried to overcome this issue and made substantial efforts to gather and publish data and information on the status on Lebanese women and gender equality in Lebanon.

-          Regarding the agricultural sector, the issue of the informality of workers constitutes an additional problem to data analysis and a major one in terms of institutional assistance. According to CAS, agricultural workers are roughly the 5% of the labour force; while according to FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, they constitute about the 40%

-          Moreover, considering interventions in rural areas in Lebanon, the definition of rural areas itself is sometimes not obvious, this is due to the overlapping between urbanisation and ruralisation and again, to the lack of statistical data on the agricultural sector.

-          According to the Global Gender Gap of 2013 the “economic participation and opportunity” and the  “political empowerment” are lowering sharply. Instead, the scores for the categories “educational attainment” and “health and survival” are therefore very close to equality.

-          Most of women are employed in this sector as seasonal workers, but as well as entrepreneurs, members of a cooperative and in family businesses. Seasonal work accounts for the biggest share in agriculture, 57% of the overall sector, with women accounting for the 18%.

-          According to the recent study conducted by NOWARA in the southern regions of Lebanon, only 3% of interviewed women working in the agricultural sector state to have a regular work and a registered contract, women are often engaged just verbally. The same study shows how hard the conditions of women working in agriculture are

-          The Syria crisis had a big impact in Lebanon; the country is hosting more than one million refugees.  The average monthly wage for young refugee workers is 56 percent of the minimum wage in the country, while female refugees earn about 30 percentless than their male counterparts.

-          However the Syrian crisis had a negative impact on agriculture, the macroeconomic impact on the Lebanese economy would be limited.

-          The lack of protection of the agriculture sector is instead posing new and old challenges to tackle with respect to equality, dignity of work and human rights, especially considering women and youth conditions.

-          Lebanon ratified the CEDAW- International Convention for the elimination of all forms of discriminations against women in 1996, but had reservations to some fundamental articles, for example on the Personal status laws, the Nationality Law and the Penal Code.

-          The Nationality Law is impeding Lebanese women to pass on citizenship to their children and husbands, thus affecting fundamental freedoms and civil rights of both men and women