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Opinions on Voting, Influence & Decision-Making - Lebanon

Respondents were asked whether they agree or disagree with a series of statements about perceived influence of voting and decision-making in the government and women’s autonomy in decision-making. 

  • Women and men both disagree that, “People like me can have an influence on decisions made by the government.” Fifty-six percent of women strongly/somewhat disagree and 65% of men strongly/somewhat disagree (Figure 6). There is little variation in opinions across sects, age groups and education levels. This sentiment could be a manifestation of the dominant feeling amongst Lebanese that they have always been victims of foreign designs and corrupt politicians.

  • But when framed in a way that asks specifically about whether they think voting gives them a chance to influence decision-making in their country respondents are more optimistic. More women than men agree that “Voting gives them a chance to influence decision-making” (69% and 61% respectively) (Figure 7). There is little variation in opinions across sects and education levels, with the exception of comparing opinions between women respondents with the lowest education levels and women with the highest education levels. Women with no formal education/incomplete primary education are less likely to strongly/somewhat agree that voting gives them influence than women with university degrees (55% and 71% respectively).

  • When asked if they agree or disagree that “Women are able to make their own decision on whom to vote for in elections,” a majority of men and women, with more women than men, said they agree with this statement (91% and 85% respectively) (Figure 8). A majority of women in each sect strongly agree that women make their own decisions when voting, with little variation in the percentages.

  • When asked about women’s involvement in various aspects of politics, a majority of both men and women strongly agree that women should be involved in politics at a variety of levels (Figure 9). There are statistically significant differences, though, between the percentage of men who strongly agree and women who strongly agree with women in these roles. There are also statistically significant differences between men and women who strongly oppose that women should be members of parliament (18% men strongly oppose, 11% women strongly oppose), ministers in government (19% men, 11% women), work on candidate campaigns (25% men, 17% women), participate in political protests (28% men, 23% women), and be members of political parties (27% men, 21% women). While these percentages are fairly small, the difference between genders is significant when examining potential barriers to women’s participation in these types of activities.

  • When aggregating opinions on the involvement of women in different aspects of the political process, regardless of the type of process, we find that 61% of women support women’s involvement in all five of these political roles, 15% support women in four of these roles, 8% support women in three of these roles, 5% support women in two of these roles and 2% only support women in one of these roles. Meanwhile, 9% of women oppose the participation of women in all five roles. However, as seen below, opinions on women as political leaders differ when placed in the context of whether women or men make better political better leaders. 
  • When respondents were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statements “On the whole, men make better political leaders than women do” and “On the whole, men make better business executives than women do,” the data shows a significant gender difference in opinions on these questions. A majority of men agree that men are better political leaders (60%) and business executives (56%) than women whereas a majority of women disagree with these statements that men are better political leaders (53%) or better business executives (63%). Still, it must be noted that a significant share of women (46%) agree, “On the whole, men make better political leaders than women do” and “On the whole, men make better business executives than women do” (37%). This highlights the fact that this traditional stereotype of men being better in leadership roles continues to exist throughout Lebanese society, not just among men but among some women as well. Despite gender equality in educational opportunities, this pervasive perception in society by both men and some women may tend to keep more men in these positions and can hinder women from attaining these types of leadership positions.
  • By sect, Sunni and Shia women are more likely than Christian women to agree that men make better political leaders (56%, 53% and 36% respectively) or better business executives (44%, 41% and 31% respectively).  By age, women age 25-34 are more likely to agree that men make better political leaders than women age 45-54 (51% and 39% respectively). There is little variation in opinions between other age groups on women as political leaders or as business executives. As we see in Figures 12 and 13, the percentage of women who disagree with both statements increases with education levels.