The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW) was initially founded in August 2011 as a result of the February 17 Revolution which renewed not only our hope for equality in Libya, but also renewed the hope of the Libyan society as a whole in their basic human rights, including women’s rights. This hope quickly translated into action, which VLW believes is the best method for any concrete improvement with regards to women’s rights.
Although VLW has grown considerably since its founding, we remain a youth-led organization and have a strong base in our hometown of Zawia. As a group of young Libyan women from different backgrounds, our ultimate goal is to advocate for an increased investment into one of Libya’s greatest resources which unfortunately has yet to receive the attention it deserves: women.
We focus our activities mainly on: improving the political participation and the economic empowerment of women in Libya. We are also active in advocating against gender based violence (GBV).
For more information on VLW, or for a greater understanding of the current challenges faced by Libyan women today and possible solutions for the future, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” It is a shocking reminder of our own human fallibility that in 2011 this has not yet been accomplished and in many cases is not even approached with any legitimacy.
In February 2011, the world witnessed the start of the six month battle for democracy in Libya. What the world did not realize is that they were also witnessing the new-found desire in women for their own rights. Unfortunately for Libyan women the past 42 years of the Gaddafi regime weren’t very liberal or favourable towards them. Instead, the many existing laws which upheld the Islamic belief that women are not only equal to men, but in many instances should even be treated superiorly, were not enforced. To make matters worse, women’s rights were seen as a joke, and it got to the point where many women themselves did not know these laws or rights even existed.
Women’s voices were not heard (unless you’re Aisha Gaddafi), initially not for lack of trying, but more so because many women who attempted at any time during the regime, to become involved with their own communities, were quickly and consistently stopped and their efforts were, in essence, quite futile. Fortunately, there can now be not only a dialogue but also a platform in which women can participate in a new, free Libya, in which they can be the masters of their own future. We are a group of Libyan women, young and old, determined to legitimize the demands that women in Libya have for themselves.
We hope to represent the women of Libya, who despite being more than half of the population, are in many cases, treated as second class citizens. We believe that especially in Libya, where democracy, rights and even respect for its citizens has been stifled, now more than ever is the time for women to raise their voices. And the desire is so strongly felt in Libyan women today that we believe this can finally be accomplished.