Meet Lebanon’s new minister for women

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Oghassabian: minister for women’s affairs

After a delay of more than two years Lebanon finally has a new government and, for the first time, it includes a minister for women’s affairs. He — yes, he — is Jean Oghassabian, a 62-year-old Armenian who has held posts in several previous governments.

Reuters notes that the new government is “drawn from most sides of the country’s political spectrum and from all of its religious sects”. But it clearly does not represent all genders. Among the 30 ministers there is only one woman: Enaya Ezzeddine, who has been put in charge of administrative development.

Although Lebanese women enjoy more freedoms than in many other Arab countries and have been allowed to vote since 1952, very few have become politicians. Currently, only four out of 128 members of parliament are women and out of 587 candidates for the last election in 2009, only 12 were female. However, there is talk of introducing a quota system for the next election.

THE GOVERNMENT LIST

Saad al-Hariri (Prime Minister, Mustaqbal)

Ghassan Hasbani (Deputy PM and Health Minister, Lebanese Forces)

Melhem Riachi (Information Minister, LF)

Pierre Bou Assi (Social Affairs Minister, LF)

Marwan Hamadeh (Education Minister, Progressive Socialist Party)

Ayman Shqeir (State Minister for Human Rights, PSP)

Talal Arslan (Minister of the Displaced, part of PSP’s share)

Ghazi Zoaiter (Agriculture Minister, AMAL Movement)

Ali Hassan Khalil (Finance Minister, AMAL Movement)

Michel Pharaon (State Minister for Planning Affairs)

Ali Qansou (State Minister for Parliament Affairs, Syrian Social Nationalist Party)

Mohammed Fneish (Sport and Youth Minister, Hizbullah)

Hussein al-Hajj Hassan (Industry Minister, Hizbullah)

Jean Oghassabian (State Minister for Women’s Affairs, al-Mustaqbal Movement)

Nouhad al-Mashnouq (Interior Minister, Mustaqbal)

Mohammed Kabbara (Labor Minister, Mustaqbal)

Jamal al-Jarrah (Telecommunications Minister, Mustaqbal)

Moein al-Merehbi (State Minister for Refugee Affairs, Mustaqbal)

Ghattas Khoury (Culture Minister, Mustaqbal)

Yaaqoub al-Sarraf (Defense Minister, loyal to President Michel Aoun)

Salim Jreissati (Justice Minister, loyal to President Michel Aoun)

Jebran Bassil (Foreign Minister, Free Patriotic Movement)

Pierre Raffoul (State Minister for Presidency Affairs, FPM)

Cesar Abi Khalil (Energy and Water Minister, FPM)

Nicolas Tueni (State Minister for Combating Corruption)

Tareq al-Khatib (Environment Minister)

Enaya Ezzeddine (State Minister for Administrative Development)

Youssef Finianos (Public Works and Transport Minister, Marada Movement)

Raed Khoury (Economy Minister)

Ouadis Kedenian (Tourism Minister

Originally published at al-bab.com.

Former Middle East editor of the Guardian. Website: www.al-bab.com. Author of 'Arabs Without God'.

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