Lebanese men treat women as belonging to an inferior status of person. A patriarchal social structure and Islamic-informed law has enshrined a view of women as being subordinate to men. Nevertheless, Lebanese women enjoy civil rights equal to those of men. They also have greater employment opportunities than women in neighboring countries.
The status of women in Lebanon has traditionally been that of a homemaker. Islamic scripture supports this attitude, although woman's subordinate role predates the advent of Islam, according to the U.S. Library of Congress. The patriarchal nature of Lebanese society stems from long-standing economic conditions. The husband/father has traditionally been the property owner and primary producer in the household. Traditional gender roles were further entrenched during the religious revival of the 1980s. The renewed enthusiasm for Islam reasserted the use of veils and abas in female attire.
Social and political developments that have occurred since the 1970s have resulted in more liberal conditions for women. The migration of many men to Persian Gulf countries in the 70s caused a manpower shortage that opened up many employment opportunities for female workers. Women also have a high degree of access to higher education. According to the Library of Congress, women made up 41 percent of the student body at the American University of Beirut in 1983.