“Varying Perceptions, One Outcome” Field Study Regarding Women’s Rights in Lebanon
Women’s work in the economic sphere, and them being forced to assume productive gender role came as economic necessity and not due to the developing relations between the two genders, their liberation and equality”. This is one of the major outputs of a study conducted by ABAAD and World Vision and launched in April 2014. The study focused on five major aspects of women’s human rights, and was designed to act as a survey of how well women and men respondents are aware of the chosen rights and the issues. The objective of this study is identifying the knowledge of participating men and women of rights exercised mainly within the household scope. They include gender equality issues, violence against women and its forms, respecting women and their will within marriage (marital rape), gender equality in citizenship rights and the rights of elderly women to own property.
Concerning violence against women and its different forms, the men and women participating in this study believed that the study showed that “entering quickly into marriage, topped up with prevalent security and social tensions, aggravating economic conditions for many families, and continuous demand on women to bear alone the traditional responsibilities of their families, in addition to their duties at work and exterior burdens, all are objective factors that lead to domestic violence and disputes, which may only end in divorce.
As for marital rape and respecting the wife’s will and desire for sexual intercourse, the study showed that what a woman considers as rape and force, based on women’s freedom and rights, was disregarded by husbands. Participants in the study considered that, in case of marital rape, the law aligned itself with the man, and women might even avoid filing a suit since demanding sexual intercourse was one of the husband’s natural rights.
On the fourth matter considering citizenship rights, and rights acquired by marriage, particularly a mother’s right to grant the Lebanese citizenship to her children, the survey revealed that those who were deprived of this right are not well-informed, do not realize its repercussions, and therefore have not enough reason to fight for it.
The study calls for an intervention plan through meaningful, variable projects to support family stability and empowerment and rehabilitation of women, such as providing draft laws that resolved the inequality in family relationships. The study also emphasized on the necessity of establishing organizational and administrative frameworks responsible for implementing the plan, carrying out field studies to develop intervention plans, and benefitting from existing institutions, authorities and facilities and from their programs in order to refer cases which could profit from their services. It also called for developing and setting up social work leaderships at the national level to stimulate action and take the initiative to achieve the desired goals.