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Getting the Vote: Suffrage and the Women’s Movement in Post-Independence Lebanon

May 7, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Ziad Abu-Rish
Visiting Researcher in Human Rights, Bard College
Ziad Abu-Rish
Getting the Vote: Suffrage and the Women’s Movement in Post-Independence Lebanon
This presentation narrates and analyzes the struggle for women’s suffrage in Lebanon between political independence in 1943 and the first parliamentary elections in which women participated in 1953. In doing so, it takes into account the views expressed and strategies pursued by different women’s organizations. Of particular interest will be the 1950 formation of the Executive Committee of Women’s Organizations in Lebanon, which served as the key node around which Lebanese women sought to secure their suffrage rights, including issuing statements, organizing demonstrations, and building alliances with politicians, political parties, and select constituencies. A key concern of the analysis presented are the changes and continuities between the 1943-1953 mobilizations for women’s suffrage and women’s activism in the colonial period. It therefore accounts for the contexts and contingencies that revived mobilizations for women’s suffrage in 1943 (after years of dormancy) and that secured it in 1953 . Rather than an inevitable consequence of independence, women’s suffrage emerges as the product of women’s agency and strategic decision-making within a complex set of contexts and contingencies involving post-colonial state building, intra-elite rivalries, and shifting norms of development, governance, and citizenship.


May 7, 2019
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Human Rights Project
Historical Studies
Middle East Studies
Gender and Sexuality Studies


Olin 102