By Claire Zillman
December 19, 2016

Lebanon is notorious for its startling lack of gender equality. Of 144 countries on the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index it ranks 135th, thanks in large part to the scarcity of women in politics. At the time of the ranking, just 3% of its parliamentary seats and 5% of its ministerial positions were held by women.

Those pushing for more gender equality in the Middle Eastern nation might have sensed a glimmer of hope yesterday when Lebanon formed its new government following the election of President Michel Aoun, and included a minister of women’s affairs for the very first time. But in a turn of events fit for 2016, the appointee for that position is a man, Jean Oghassabian. With that in mind, it will come as no surprise that of the 29 other cabinet positions, a woman was named to just one.

Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, assessed the new cabinet this way: “new names; new ministries; same same.”

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