Lebanon’s new government has appointed Raya al-Hassan as interior minister, seeing her become the first woman in the Arab world to take on such a portfolio.
al-Hassan is a senior politician in Lebanon and has previously held top jobs in government, including finance minister from 2009-2011. Her appointment to a portfolio managing national security has been seen as a monumental step forward for women in Lebanese politics.
In 2019, the Lebanese government has more women than ever before, with four women now holding cabinet positions, three more than in the previous government.
The other women appointed to the cabinet hold positions in energy, administrative development and in the economic empowerment of women and young people. These appointments mark a shift for Lebanon, where under a prior government, even the minster for women was a man.
al-Hassan has recognised the importance of her position as a senior woman in government and is proud to be the first female minister of interior.
“Because I’m the first woman, I need to act as a role model and prove that women in positions that are usually held by men can do the job as well, if not better, than men,” she told The National.
Raya Al Hassan’s appointment to Lebanese government is a vital step towards gender equality – The National View https://t.co/QFbHtOnQTL
— The National Comment (@NationalComment) February 12, 2019
The politician believes the appointment of women to cabinet positions should become the new norm in the Arab world.
In an interview with Euronews, she said her appointment is “unique and needs to be mainstreamed and generalised in other countries in the region.”
al-Hassan will prioritise security and supporting victims of domestic violence in her new role, taking a massive step forward for gender equality in Lebanese politics.