For at least a quarter of a century, development economists have been documenting the close relationship between gender equality and development: poorer regions tend to have less equality, while richer areas are more egalitarian. Measures of gender equality are thus considered major indicators of economic development by bodies like the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
In Lebanon's case, the data reveals an uneven picture of equality. In education, women outpace men at all levels from primary through university. However, this doesn't appear to translate to the labor force or political representation, where their numbers remain disproportionately low. According to the UNDP, three out of every four workers is male.
This male-centric workforce leads to further complications for women who wish to be entrepreneurs or self-employed — just 10 percent of women, compared to 34 percent of men, do so — according to the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. These women often suffer a lack of access to credit and business training, and tend to be part of the informal economy.