In 1953, Lebanon became the first Arab nation-state to grant women suffrage. The story of that monumental moment begins in the 1910s with the rise of the Lebanese women’s movement. The Lebanese women’s movement has a long history of transformation and metamorphosis that responded to the needs of the state in power at the time. It began under the Ottoman Empire (1516–1918), bloomed in the Nahda Arab Renaissance of the late 1800s and early 1900s, was sustained through French colonial occupation (1920–1943), flourished with independence in 1943, and continues today (Kaedbey and Naber 2019).

The early Lebanese women’s movement of the 1910s and 1920s primarily focused on women’s access to education and their role in charity organizations (Stephan 2014). The writers and readers of popular women’s magazines, and the leaders of women’s organizations, came from the middle and upper classes. Their focus...

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