Demands for the adoption of women quota in public office, whether these positions are by election or appointment, were late in materializing and reaching the agenda of policy-makers in Lebanon. Persistent efforts by some civil society organizations since the 1990s and the appointment of a human rights activist as a Minister of Interior in 2008 led to the submission of two official proposals to this end as part of a general electoral reform. Nothing has materialized so far. The first proposal, calling for a women quota on parliamentary electoral lists, was aborted by Parliament in 2008. The second, calling for the allocation of seats for women on the municipal councils was approved by the Council of Ministers on January 29, 2010 but still awaits adoption by Parliament.1 In light of the prevalent frustration with the decision-makers’ failure to seriously act on this issue, the following sections of this paper aim at providing an assessment of the contributions that the two suggested quota proposals may have made to the enhancement of women representation in public office at the national and local levels respectively, as well as highlighting the factors influencing the decision-making process on this issue.
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