Institute for Women’s Policy Research Illustrates Challenges Faced by Women in Lebanon

April 29, 2013

By Drew McCormick: Research Intern, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Habitat for Humanity’s housing initiatives and policy research in Lebanon have the potential to improve  the lives of women and families in Lebanon, by providing housing and other services to those in need and determining the impact of existing policies.  Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) surveys and research in Lebanon illustrate the challenges faced by women in Lebanon, and show how women and their families fare according to key indicators such as economic and employment status, access to housing and health care, and civic and political participation.

IWPR’s research analysis has found that in the majority of Lebanese households, married women and their husbands share responsibility in important decisions such as the decision to buy a home. While these large decisions are often made in partnership, few women in Lebanon have their own personal assets. Of the employed women interviewed in Lebanon, only a small proportion stated that they deposited their earnings into a bank account as savings. In addition, research in Lebanon revealed that less than two-fifths of female respondents had access to land or property with the title in their name.

IWPR analysis also shows that Lebanese women with higher education rates have more land or property in their name than women with less education. Women who work for wages tend to have more power in household decision-making, to include home repairs and other household related decisions, than those without paid employment.

This research was part of IWPR’s Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa (SWMENA) project. This work, completed in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and representatives of several Lebanese organizations working to help women, and funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, was a multi-year initiative examining the status of women in Lebanon, Morocco, and Yemen. To support capacity-building for local NGOs, IWPR also created a toolkit for local NGOs to create their own status of women reports. The toolkit emphasizes the importance of understanding the reality of women’s lives in order to effectively implement programs, such as Habitat’s efforts to build housing, and reach those most in need.

Topic briefs analyzing the SWMENA project survey data on Lebanon, Morocco and Yemen are available on IWPR’s website, or at For more information, please contact IWPR Study Director Dr. Jane Henrici.


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