Women Students and American education under the French mandate in Lebanon (1920-1943)

Proceedings of The 6th World Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2023



Women Students and American education under the French mandate in Lebanon (1920-1943)

Angela Kahil (Ph.D.)



In Lebanon, Women students are a new category in the field of education in the 1920s. The creation of schools for girls since the 19th century and the adoption of coeducation by universities, such as the American University of Beirut in 1921, and the foundation of the American Junior College for Women in 1924, represent great opportunities for women who wished to continue their studies, to get a degree and eventually to work or even make career. Women Students could be divided in two groups: women who had to face several challenges to access higher education (paternalism, financial cost) and women who got benefit from a more liberal environment, allowing them to continue naturally their studies. The paper will include samples of individual paths. These categories relate about the social context in Lebanon under the French mandate. Indeed the Lebanese society is in between the respect of local traditions and conservatism (paternalistic society) and a liberal wind of change that affects the mentalities. My paper examines the process of “making women” (Anderson, 2011) in Lebanon under the French mandate. It will shed the light on the institutions that promoted women’s education and the difficulties they met to affirm their identity during the French mandate. My approach is to bring a gendered lecture of the history of the Levant, using poststructuralist theories.

keywords: women, education, mandate, paternalism, American