In order to examine the extent of civic engagement of women in Lebanon, we asked respondents if they are currently or had been members of different types of organizations. This shows the level of association of people with others outside their house and can be a reflection of how active and informed they are as citizens.
- Data from the SWMENA survey suggests that overall levels of membership in different organizations are relatively low for both men and women yet they are lower for women: 18% of Lebanese women are members of one organization, 5% are members of two organizations, and 3% are members of three organizations or more. This leaves 74% of women who are not members of any organization compared with 66% of men.
- Figure 1 shows that men are generally more likely to be members of different types of organizations than women: there are three times as many men than women members of political parties (21% of men vs. 7% of women). This is also the case for membership in trade unions and professional syndicates: 7% of men are members vs. 3% of women.
- Women are however more active than men in certain organizations such as religious groups, charity organizations and women’s organizations: indeed more women are likely to be members of these organizations than men.
When looking at membership in different organizations irrespective of the type of organization and breaking down by different demographics of women, we observe the following:
- Figure 2 shows that women who are 45 or older are much more likely to be members of different organizations than younger women. The 25-34 age group stands out as being the least active: 78% of women in this age cohort are not members of any organization. This is in contrast to women in the 65+ age group where 24% are members of one organization, 8% are members of 2 organizations, and 2% are members of 3 organizations or more. It is noteworthy that women who are 18-24 are more active than those 25-44. The pattern of engagement in different organization is thus one where women are more active in their younger years then their engagement slows down and picks up again as they reach their mid-forties.
- Figure 3 shows that Christian and Druze women are more likely to engage in different organizations than Sunni and Shia women: 35% of Christian women and 31% of Druze women are members in one organization or more compared with only 18% of Sunni women and 19% of Shia women.
- As education levels increase, the likelihood of being members of different organizations increases as well. Indeed, Figure 4 shows that membership is highest for those with a university education or higher as 41% are members of at least one organization.
- When examining membership by marital status, we observe that the level of engagement in organizations is higher for women who are single than those who are married: 28% of women who are single are members in at least one organization compared with 25% of women who are married. Women with children under 18 are less likely to be members of organizations (22%) compared with women without children (27%).