Libyan women react to lack of representation in new government
Summary of story from The Australian, September 6, 2011
Libyan women are speaking out against the National Transitional Council (NTC) for recruiting too many Islamists and too few women.
The NTC has appointed only one woman and there are none in ministerial positions.
“I criticise the absence of women in this council,” said Samia Shamaq, who yesterday arranged a meeting on the role of women in the new Libya.
Aya Diribubri, a 26-year-old employee in a wedding dress shop concurs: “There should be women in the NTC because they are a vital link in society.”
Some women, like Fatin Mohammed al-Nabi, a 20-year old business student, are worried that conservatism will prevail in the new government because the NTC has recruited heavily from conservative Benghazi rather than the more liberal capital, Tripoli.
“I’m worried that Islamic brothers will come from Benghazi and decide that women have to wear the hijab [Islamic headscarf],” said Nabi.
Nabi argues that women had more freedom under Muammar Gaddafi’s rule, including the choice of wearing the hijab and participation in the economic life of the country.
Hanan Mohammed Ali Abusah, 29, on the other hand, believes that under the new regime women are: “likely to have more opportunities than they had before.”
Despite Diribubri’s insistence that more women should be included on the NTC, she says that she will dutifully wear a hijab if conservatism dominates the new regime.
She says: “In the end, Libya is an Islamic country and safety is more important than freedom.”