Final Report on Violence Against Women in Politics in Lebanon (September 2023)
This report is part of the media and gender monitoring of the 2023 municipal elections (postponed from 2022, and since postponed again until 2024), conducted by Maharat Foundation and Madanyat in partnership with UN Women, which aims to identify, monitor and analyse the different forms of violence and barriers that may be faced by women who are running for political office in the municipal elections – before, during and after the elections. The goal is to influence the discussion about women’s political participation and eliminate all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence against them.
The methodology is based on collecting and analysing a set of data and findings through a series of key activities carried out by Madanyat and Maharat Foundation within the framework of the project, serving the objectives of this report as follows:
- Activity 1: An opinion survey and listening group discussions were conducted with women active in the political field in various regions to monitor and explore the perceptions of women political leaders and change-makers in response to women’s participation and violence against women in politics in the 2023 municipal elections.
- Activity 2: A listening group discussion and an opinion survey were conducted with current members of municipal councils to assess violence against women who have reached decision-making positions in municipalities.
- Activity 3: A roundtable discussion and a journalists’ survey on the adherence of media coverage in Lebanon to gender-sensitive reporting standards and combating violence against women through media work.
- Activity 4: Monitoring and analysing the activity of a sample of women municipal members through their social media accounts, tracking their positions and violence directed at them.
The activities conducted in the framework of this project demonstrate that women active in the political field, including on municipal councils, are subjected to various forms of violence, including psychological violence, digital violence and social violence. Furthermore, societal norms and religious interpretations constitute significant barriers faced by women running for political office that contribute to exacerbating violence against them. Additionally, according to journalists who participated in the roundtable discussion, women active in the political field remain underrepresented in the media, which still plays a significant role in perpetuating gender stereotypes, in the absence of gender-sensitive reporting guidelines and adequate policies to support women’s visibility within media organizations.
Surprisingly, the violence reportedly faced by women members of municipal councils was not reflected in the findings of the social media monitoring conducted by Maharat Foundation and Madanyat during the months of May and June 2023. This can be explained by the low percentage of women members of municipal councils present on social media platforms as well as their low visibility in general, compounded with the nature of their discourse, which mainly consisted of stances focused on various issues, without adopting a confrontational approach that directly singles out specific individuals or political parties. Furthermore, the absence of violent comments on women members of municipal councils’ pages/accounts can also be attributed to their focus on local battles and issues without national political dimensions – a factor that can influence the extent of violence they encounter in the pre-election phase, as demonstrated by the monitoring conducted by Maharat Foundation and Madanyat during the parliamentary elections of 2022.
Read the full report here: