Tuesday, 04 March 2014 09:59

Likaat 2014 (1)

Tuesday, 04 March 2014

‘Party politics, religion and women’s Leadership :Lebanon in Comparative Perspective”.

Presented by Fatima Sbeity Kassem.


Previously, women’s poor representation in Parliament was justified by the fact that, traditionally, she did not share in the public domain, either because of the level of development of their countries, or their national income, political system, electoral laws, their society’s culture, or religious affiliation. However, this does not explain the discrepancy in women’s representation in states of one color, or political system or law. This book presents a theory based on the political parties and the problematic relation between their politics and the degree of their religious faith and the chances women have to occupy leading positions within them. If a woman desires and chooses to join a political party as a first step to entering the political arena and then occupying leading roles within the political parties, it would help creating a “crucial pressure group” of women capable of making decisions in the public domain. The growing relation between women’s membership in parties-according to a system of mobilization- and the percentage of her presence in higher committees could pressure the leaders of these parties to increase the percentage of women’s participation in the electoral lists and thus her chance of being elected in these elections. These steps represent a road map for women to enter the political struggle and obtain leading positions and decision making. However, the parties are not equal when it comes to enhancing women’s chances of reaching those positions. The less the religiosity of these political parties the higher the percentage of women in their leadership. This relies on field work in Lebanon and the statistics of women’s presence in the higher echelons of 330 parties in 26 countries (out of 192 world wide) from Africa, Asia and Europe , of which 13 are of the Arab World, including Lebanon and 7 countries with a Muslim majority (50% +) and 5 European countries with a Christian majority and Israel with a Jewish majority. The field work showed that the parties’ support of women’s leadership differs according to the degree of religiosity and secularism in their political programs and declared aims. These results that support the books’ theory allow for generalizing and using in order to explain the present and help plan the future. The book also presents the core of a detailed database pertaining to women in the parties, the data have been surveyed and collected for the first time and made available to researchers, political studies students, women and gender studies.

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