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Atlas of Lebanon

Part 3 - An Unbalanced Econoy: the Growth of Inequality

A Gender and Ethnic Division of Labor

Marie Bonte

Texte intégral

Economic domination

1At the beginning of the 2010s, women accounted for 25% of the labor force nationwide. Most of these women (59.8% of them) have been working in Beirut or in Mount-Lebanon, regions which concentrate 44.5% of the Lebanese workers. As a minority on the labor market, the employed women are mostly young and often single: marriage, which occurs quite late in Lebanon, remains a major step in their biographical path and often corresponds to the end of paid activities. The professional status of women is in general inferior to that of the men: rarely self-employed or at the head of a company, most (75%) are employees and the pay gaps are still significant.

2These figures must not conceal the importance of the informal economy, defined as the economic activities which are not controlled by state institutions and, thereby, not subjected to taxes nor included in the GDP. By definition hard to quantify (according to a 2011 IMF report, it could account for 37% of the GDP), this sector employs many women. Women thus represent a significant labor power but their access to positions linked to decision-marking and implementation, as, more generally, to stable employment, remains uneasy.

Figure III-29: Economic activity rate by gender and by muhafazat

Figure III-29: Economic activity rate by gender and by muhafazat

Figure III-30: Distribution of the female and male workforce by professional status

Figure III-30: Distribution of the female and male workforce by professional status

Figure III-31: Gender pay gap by business sector

Figure III-31: Gender pay gap by business sector

Female migrant workers in Lebanon, between oppression and diversified paths

3Not including the refugee population, the Lebanese migration landscape is characterized by a significant female population. According to the UNHCR, there may be about 250,000 domestic workers mostly from Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. They arrive in Lebanon via employment agencies and work for their employer who is also their kafil or legal sponsor. The latter determines work hours and controls mobility—often going so far as to take away their passports. The restrictions on freedom of movement, isolation and violence they are subjected to make these workers vulnerable. Mobilizations, like Worker’s Day, have trouble obtaining better legal protection for them. In recent years, migration paths have started to vary, upon the arrival in Lebanon (by using preexisting migration chains) or after a first employment contract. Some migrants stay in Lebanon to become freelancers, with or without a residence permit, while others flee the domicile of their employer. This diversification goes along with a gradual integration into the urban fabric via the opening of shops or of restaurants.

Figure III-32: The diversification of the paths of female migrant workers in Lebanon

Figure III-32: The diversification of the paths of female migrant workers in Lebanon

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure III-29: Economic activity rate by gender and by muhafazat
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/13250/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 66k
Titre Figure III-30: Distribution of the female and male workforce by professional status
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/13250/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 66k
Titre Figure III-31: Gender pay gap by business sector
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/13250/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 35k
Titre Figure III-32: The diversification of the paths of female migrant workers in Lebanon
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/13250/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 154k

© Presses de l’Ifpo, 2019

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