BEIRUT: Up to a thousand women, youth and civil society activists marched Sunday to demand gender equality, better representation in the country and the passage of new civil personal status laws. The march began at UNESCO Palace in Corniche al-Mazraa in Beirut and concluded at the door of the Interior Ministry in Sanayeh.
The demonstrators called for new civil personal status laws, which would allow women to be able to pass on their nationality to their children, and for Palestinian women to be granted civil and economic rights.
They also demanded that Lebanese women be given a 35 percent quota in Parliament and in other elected government bodies.
Gender equality provisions should be implemented in the taxation and social security laws, protesters said, and Parliament should adopt the draft law protecting women against domestic violence.
“It’s been another dark year filled with disappointments thanks to those who boast that Lebanon is more advanced than the rest of the world and exaggerate their adoption of human rights and who say that Lebanon was one of the countries that wrote down the International Declaration of Human Rights,” prominent women’s rights activist Linda Matar said in her speech.
“In fact you are dragging us back. We are in the year 2013 and the state still gives men the right to pass his nationality to his wife and children and deprives women of the same right, shuns women’s demands to participate in decision-making bodies, and refuses women the right to equal pay in the work place.”
“We dream of equality and rightful laws, and the Palestinian and other Arab women share [with the Lebanese] the injustice and discrimination committed against them,” Matar said.
“We will not accept being treated like second-class citizens; we want equality in all fields and decision-making positions in politics and the economy.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 11, 2013, on page 4.