NAYA | Unemployment: Women facing stagnant economy and gender inequity


As the low employment rate unhurriedly progresses and expeditiously dwindles, the labor force firmly remains predominated by men.

BEIRUT: Unemployment in flashing red is an ideal representation of what a person’s nightmare would look like if it were to become real.

While low employment rates remain a setback worldwide, it is to no one’s surprise that the former is an alarming problem in a country like Lebanon, beset by a six-year slowed economy since the beginning of the neighboring Syrian war.

Adding to the problem, there is a certain gender inequity in hiring, according to data, Annahar examined.

The labor force firmly remains predominated by men. Regardless of what this acclaimed monopoly stands for and how many factors play a role in explaining it, this domination points out another worrying drawback in the country: the potential of employing candidates based on sex.


“The number of women recruitment depends on the industry, job category, and working conditions,” Adib Dorra, HR consultant, told Annahar.

As per the World Bank, the estimated percentage of women employment and women in the workforce are generally lower than that of men. This international actuality is influenced by social, legal, demographic, and cultural trends of different countries.

The research additionally points out that although women have been acquiring more educational opportunities over the years, their access to occupations in general and good-paying jobs in specific, remain unequal to men all over the world.

“I think women unemployment rates are higher because Lebanon is mostly dependent on the industrial sector, which is dominated by men, and because some remaining mentalities limit the employment of women and her role in the society,” added Dorra.

According to the World Bank and data retrieved from the ILOSTAT database, the employment to population ratio of Lebanese women only reached 20.62 percent in 2016 while that of men reached 67.234 percent during the same year. These numbers can also project the inefficiency of the economy in providing its citizens with job opportunities.

“The numbers forecast the ongoing domination of men in some fields,” Tarek Naccache, PhD, economist, told Annahar. “However, from an optimistic perspective, the percentage of women could potentially continue to increase.”

The unjust coexistence of high unemployment rate and low wages remain a barrier to many Lebanese women.

“I thought gender gaps are closing, but apparently they are not!” Sahar Malle, a woman who has been unemployed and looking for a job for over a year now, told Annahar.

Malle is not the only woman who’s infuriated from the issue. According to Mirna Abou Amo, another unemployed woman, lack of job opportunities is a setback for women.

“When you have sent many resumes and landed multiple interviews, all without success, it’s hard not to get discouraged,” Abou Amo said.

While some spend their time diving into the world of application filling, others found a way around the situation and decided to freelance.

“I am currently freelancing as I had to face the economic pressure and the constant hustle in the journey to finding a sustainable work,” Nour Jaber an unemployed graduate told Annahar.

Cherine Jneid, an HR expert, considers that one of the main reasons for the low women employment rate are some recruiters’ convictions that men can be more available at work. This emanates from some people’s beliefs that women would willingly benefit from “long” maternity leave, may be absent to take care of their children, and that they would not accept to work overtime to follow up on family matters.

“More awareness should be spread to demonstrate the effectiveness of women at work,” Jneid said, “the importance of diversity in the workplace and the possible easy solutions to make the workplace adaptable for both men and women, should be highlighted,” she added.

*Tala Ramadan Contributed to the article.


Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations — Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: [email protected]

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