On Thursday January 31, four women were appointed to Lebanon’s new cabinet, the largest number of female appointees in Lebanon’s history. Since 2005, no more than two women at a time have served as cabinet members, and Lebanon’s most recent cabinet only had one female member.
Most notably, the Interior Minister position will be filled by Raya al-Hasan, making her the first woman ever to hold this position in Lebanon. In fact, she is the first woman to hold this position in any country in the MENA region. As Interior Minister she will oversee important policies surrounding policing, national security, and elections, and collaborate with other regional leaders on security issues. Nada Bustani will serve as the new Minster of Energy and Water, overseeing environmental regulations in Lebanon. May Chidiac will become the Minister of State for Administrative Development and Violette Safadi will become the Minister of State for Women and Youth Affairs. These women now have the opportunity to lead some of the most critical ministries and implement empowering policies in others that have suffered from unclear mandates or a lack of gender awareness.