Lebanon: Women’s Struggle for Gender Equality and Harassment-free Newsrooms
Lebanon has historically been one of the most liberal and progressive countries in the Arab world, with a relatively free media climate and a culture and legal environment largely conducive to gender equality. Censorship in Lebanon remains nowhere near as stringent as in most of its regional counterparts, although journalists and bloggers self-censor for personal safety (Alabaster 2011). The country has a long tradition of press freedom, but nearly all media have ties to political groups (Al-Najjar 2011). Women have legal access to virtually all occupations and professions and enjoy equal constitutional rights with men, despite the persistence of some discriminatory laws and practices. In addition, Lebanese women in most professions face a national trend of underrepresentation in positions of power, especially within the news industry. As was learned in the Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media (Global Report) study, Lebanese news companies employ twice as many men as women, and the disparity further increases as we go up the corporate ladder (Byerly 2011).
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