Shorter: Women on Municipalities Show that Society Benefits from Full Participation of Women


As part of his “ongoing engagement for greater representation of women in all walks of life,” British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter met a group of women municipality members to hear about their successes representing their community in local government, the British embassy said on Friday.

The municipal members from Tyre, Arsal, Chouf and Shiyah shared their experiences of working to improve public services in their area and deliver benefits to the community. Shorter asked the women about their experiences of running for office as women, and what added value they felt women could bring.

Some of the women spoke about challenges they faced due to negative attitudes, but Randa Ibrahim Abou Saleh from Tyre Municipality said, “I haven’t had problems, I’ve been supported by the President of the Municipality, Deputy President, and all the members.”

Shorter also asked them about how they saw opportunities for women in the upcoming elections, and whether they saw municipality work as good preparation for parliament.

And in particular, he asked about their successes as municipal members.

“I did a great job, and that’s why they proposed me for a second mandate,” said Rita Tawil of Shiyah Municipality. “But I’m against the quota – I want women to prove themselves for themselves, not to be pushed by men.”

Randa Ibrahim Abou Saleh from Tyre said that, as head of the Women and Child Committee, she was “working to strengthen the role of women in society, improve their self-confidence, and help women to realize their potential, as well as working to benefit children.”

And Amal Takieddine of Chouf Municipality, who supported a quota for women, said that, “As women, we prove ourselves as highly committed and qualified, for a better tomorrow. My main priority is empowering and motivating youth and women.”

Rima Kronbie, the Deputy Head of Arsal municipality said she was also against the quota because “women can prove their qualifications. In my role I am networking with everyone, including security services, and because of my background I understand and know about the people’s concerns… I encourage all women to run for municipalities and parliament.”

“It was an inspiration to meet women municipality members today,” Shorter said after the meeting.

‘Selima Dergham was the first woman to head a municipality in Lebanon back in 1963, and Mirna Bustani was the first woman elected to parliament in 1963. Women today are continuing their tradition of contributing to their community and their nation. Around the world it has been shown that societies and economies succeed when women are able to participate fully, and the women I met today are the living evidence of that,” the ambassador added.

“That’s why I welcome the campaign, which we’ve seen across the country, to bring more Lebanese women into public office. I’m also proud that the British Embassy has been supporting projects helping to raise the visibility of women parliamentary candidates from across the political spectrum and equip them, through training, with the tools they need to succeed,” Shorter went on to say.

Comments 1
Thumb whyaskwhy 27 April 2018, 23:10

I am disappointed that we have seen very little if any leadership from Women in Lebanon over the past 28 years. Since the end of the civil war we have seen a handful of ladies step up and in some cases elected into positions and have heard or seen nothing from them past a few picture taking session at some bazzar or art show.
If one was to take a look at the college graduates I would venture and guess more than half are woman and many due to the backward society that we have had to work twice as hard to do so, yet we see little past that. Now I know that some may claim Lebanon is a mans world and I say crap to that. Woman have made historic changes in nations that previously had enslaved them yet in an open country like Lebanon we are more apt to seeing a woman get naked on TV for a music video clip than we are to see a woman stand up against corruption. Education begins at home and yet we dont see the mother take a step further than that...what a shame