Libyan women’s political experience is undermined by patriarchal culture and armed violence

Many people interested in women’s rights in Libya believe that their participation in political affairs is still weak due to the dominance of the patriarchal society on the one hand and the chaos of political life on the other hand, while women activists in civil society and defenders of women’s rights demand the necessity of real representation of women in legislative and political positions in the country.

The selection of 5 women among the members of the new national unity government is a promising step that needs to be built on, in order to ensure the advancement of women’s rights, despite the non-representation of the 30% demanded by the participating women at the political dialogue forum last November.

The decline of women’s political representation after independence

In this regard, the writer Aisha Bazama says: “Despite the great role of Libyan women in periods of foreign occupation and their vigorous practice of jihad, their patience and lashing out in detention, and their sacrifices that history has transmitted in the struggle epics archived in bright pages in the Jihad Archives Center, they have not yet received any political representation.”

Bazama pointed out that it cannot be interpreted in a negative way, but there are obstacles that certainly stood in the way of women, and among those obstacles is the limitation of this role in his personalization and limiting it to two women who were given all the possibilities of support, without involving other women, because these two women were close. They were very much in power, and their role was not political in the correct sense, but was limited to a very faint social role, the benefit of which accrued to the prestigious families at that time from sewing courses and the like, far from practicing politics.

The writer indicated that during the Gaddafi era, women opened the door to enter and storm the political field in abundance, and the vision of Libyan women expanded and granted them vast areas, but they were linked to conditions and regulations restricting them, including being within the framework of the political system and believing in its endeavors, revolutionary theory, committee and Green Book, and this conditional restriction is difficult for many who hold the status of political leadership and are fully aware of the role of women in breaking into the power of political decision-making.

Disappointing religious teachings

Aisha Bazama spoke about the exposure of the role of women at the present time to an intrusive culture that camouflaged behind religious and frustrating teachings, confronting the movements of both sexes and more affecting women in this role. It did not support women at all and did not play the political role, but rather sided with charitable and livelihood aspects, due to the severe weakness in managing these coordinations and the lack of understanding of their role, and thus the efforts of many women were frustrated and women had to search for a way to break into power.

She adds: “Women seek political participation as well as men, but their promise is not as strong. The standards of politics have changed, the most important of which is materialism, as have other intellectual means that do not support or care for women to be a political leader or party leader.

Administrative positions are not a political grant for women, and if a woman does not enter the leadership of a party, the presidency of a parliament, a government or a state, all attempts will remain ineffective.

They need women’s voices. Women exist only in the final odds

On the other hand, Iman Omran al-Kashhar continues: “Libyan women are living very difficult social pressures,” and she adds: “Even if a woman possesses all the skills sufficient to enter the political experience, those around her do not accept that. This rejection may take many forms. Including the fear for her life due to the difficult security situation.”

Iman al-Kusher, a former candidate for prime minister, blamed state institutions for not supporting women to be in a leadership position, and at the same time, asking for their participation in the quota system, and without them, we would find her place empty.

She continued: “Women are supported in the parties to represent them and comply with them, not because they are convinced of them as a woman. They need a woman’s voice and do not want her presence except in the last possibilities.”

The great influence of a patriarchal society

The “gravity” refers to the great influence of the patriarchal society on the societal culture. It is not easy for a woman to go through any experience in this country without being fought against, given that she is only suitable for the home.

Weakness of the Libyan women’s initiative

Asia Shuwaidi, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Peace Springs Organization for Women’s Rights, believes that the type of education provided in Libya is traditional education that does not depend on participation.

She adds: “Societal culture does not encourage women to participate in political life, in addition to the fact that society is armed and is rife with violence, aggression and violations Human rights does not constitute an appropriate environment for the exercise of its role in the public space.”

Al-Shuwaidi spoke about the weakness of the Libyan women’s initiative in establishing civil institutions that care about supporting and encouraging women, away from the patriarchal culture that considers women unqualified for political work as a leadership work.

According to Al-Shuwaidi, in many cases, the ahistorical understanding of some Qur’anic texts and rulings is interpreted by some as a restriction for women and an attempt to exclude them from any political role.

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