For this month’s special report on women in the workforce, Executive chose to profile a selection of seven successful, upper managerial level, Lebanese working women. Read more profiles as they’re published here, or pick up March’s issue at newsstands in Lebanon.
Lamia Moubayed, head of the Institut des Finances Basil Fuleihan (IoF), believes that there is de facto discrimination against women in top management roles. “I personally avoided, as much as possible, work related social functions because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to manage my many duties. This affects your prospects for advancement or promotion to higher duties as you are seen less in circles of power and probably miss on some good ‘introduction’ opportunities,” says Moubayed, explaining that this is one reason why quotas are crucial to stop top positions being filled only with men.
Moubayed was selected as head of the IoF by the French Ministry of Finance in 2000, when it was still a private French–Lebanese initiative. She led the IoF’s transformation from a bilateral cooperation project into an independent public agency under the tutelage of the Lebanese Ministry of Finance. Today, Moubayed heads a team of 26 at the institute, whose main services are capacity development of civil servants, training and documentation services.
The Institute of Finance has predominantly female employees (19 out of the 26), but Moubayed says this was not their aim. “When we talk about female employment it is not at the expense of male employment, there should be diversity where each person brings to the organization a different perspective. In public affairs, diversity is a sign of health because if you want public servants to be responsible, efficient and attentive to citizens’ needs, they have to be representative of their society. In IoF, we have this very nice way of making the best out of our difference. We work for gender to become a non issue, and here, diversity is the key,” she says.
[pullquote]”Women in the public sector enjoy a number of benefits set by law that no supervisor can deny or ignore”[/pullquote]
Moubayed believes that there are very few barriers facing women, in general, in the public sector. “As far as I am concerned, the discrimination in pay between genders in the public service is rather rare, as you are paid according to a well established scale as per your grade. Also, women in the public sector enjoy a number of benefits set by law that no supervisor can deny or ignore, including maternity leave, convenient working hours [until 2 pm in administrations], pension and so on. They have a legal system and an institutional framework that guarantee their rights, protect them from abuse and allow for retaliation in case of abuse. Moreover, they enjoy two most important privileges: job security and non interruption of their pay,” explains Moubayed.