[P5256] Gender, Law and Violence in Lebanon - feminist contestations post-Arab uprisings

Created by Connie Christiansen
Saturday, 11/17/18 11:00am


In the era of post-Arab uprisings, issues relating to gender and the unstable meanings of female and male in Arab societies are hitting the news to an unprecedented extent, often in stories about child marriages, rape during conflict and war, or about sexual assaults and harassment as everyday events and practices. Violence thus constitutes a core topical framework for discussing gender and law in the multi-confessional, sectarian context of Lebanese society.

The power-sharing model of Lebanon has gained renewed interests as the 'most successful failed state'. In this renewed interest, the Lebanese model is approached as 'consociationalism' - or as a model of political power sharing providing stability in spite of claims making from diverse ethnic and religious groups, that are given unequal positions by the power-sharing agreement.

The consequences of this power sharing model for the prospects of gender equality in today's Lebanese society are understudied. With pertinence from allegedly increasing sectarian divides in the Middle Eastern region broadly, and the presence of displaced and unprotected Syrian and Palestinian women, this panel will present current research from Lebanon on these inter-linkages and discuss them in the context of feminist contestations and law reforms while putting the spotlight on how sectarian-based legal institutions and regulation foster rather than prevent different forms of gendered violence; the ability of civil society activism, including women's and feminist organizations, to transcend sectarian lines is then crucial but also called into question.

The personal status code, its jurisdiction and implementation, instrumental for women's second class citizenship, is delegated to 15 different sectarian courts and their religious authorities. Any reform or amendment of the personal status code is therefore benefitting women in Lebanon unevenly. Recent law amendments constitute steps in the right direction, while diversified feminists' connections with transnational networks, the NGO'ization of women's movement, and the influence from sectarian elites in Lebanese civil society are unabated.

Given this framework, core issues raised in this interdisciplinary panel are:

o Gendered violence in Post-Arab Uprisings Lebanese society
o Intersections of gendered violence of the sectarian legal system
o The Lebanese power sharing model and its effect on gender activism
o Recent constellations of women's organizations and feminist contestations


Lebanese Studies Association