Gender politics, women's rights and international norms in Lebanon

S. G Harb, Florida International University


The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the reasons for the under-representation of women in politics in Lebanon, and the role of international norms of gender equality in bringing about change. For those questions, I examined the particular relevance of confessionalism arguing that a confessional social structure and political system empower patriarchal forms of organization with detrimental effects to women's political participation. This dissertation makes innovative contributions to two types of literature. First, literature on the barriers to women being elected into political office has put strong emphasis on electoral systems of representation, but has rarely addressed the way in which electoral systems that seek to ensure minority representation – such as the confessional system in Lebanon – operate to keep women out of politics. This study provides an important corrective to this literature by exploring a non-Western case and broadening theorizing on the issue. Second, constructivist literature in the field of International Relations has argued that international norms of gender equality – including gender quotas – have diffused throughout the 20th century. This research illustrates the mechanisms that counteract international diffusion, and adds to our understanding of how international norms are translated into domestic contexts.

Subject Area

Womens studies|Middle Eastern Studies|International law

Recommended Citation

Harb, S. G, "Gender politics, women's rights and international norms in Lebanon" (2010). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3420034.