1953 First Women

Emily Fares Ibrahim: The first woman to run for Parliament

Between 1953 and 1975, Lebanon had six parliaments: the 8th Parliament (1953-1957), the 9th Parliament (1957-1960), the 10th Parliament (1960-1964),  the 11th Parliament (1964-1968), the 12th Parliament (1968-1972) , and the 13th Parliament (1972-1991) for which the parliamentary term was extended due to the Civil War (1975-1990).

Over this period, eight women in total ran for elections, three of them running several times (both Munira al-Solh ran three times and Nuhad Sa’eed ran three times, while Emily Fares Ibrahim ran twice). During the first parliamentary elections held from 12 July to 9 August 1953 1, the first Lebanese woman to run for elections was Emily Fares Ibrahim 2. She ran for a Maronite seat in Zahleh, but was not elected 3. More women have followed suit since then. Apart from being the first woman to run for elections, Ibrahim was a feminist, a poet, and a literary writer who she wrote extensively about women’s activism in Lebanon; among her books are al-Harakah al-Nisa’eya al-Lubnaneya (The Lebanese Women’s Movement) and al-Katebat al-Lubnaneyat (Lebanese Women Writers) 4. She also headed several national committees such as the National Mobilisation Committee, was established after the Israeli occupation  in 1892. Finally, in 1992, she was given the National Order of the Cedar, one of the highest orders to be awarded in the Lebanese Republic.