Five women rise to top positions in Libyan government, but there’s a long way to go

Five women will occupy important ministries in the new Libyan government for the first time in the country’s history.

While the move has been hailed, it falls far short of achieving parity in the UN-sponsored transitional government led by Abdelhamid al-Dabaiba.

Libya entered the conflict after dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, with an array of forces struggling to fill the void.

The Transitional Government of National Unity (GNU), which took office this week, faces the challenge of pulling the country out of a decade of chaos and division, leading it to national elections in December.

But with five women among its 26 ministers and six ministers of state, it also marks a relative progression for women in politics.

This is a “major step in advancing women’s rights,” said UN Women in Libya, while US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland said it was a ” historic moment for Libyan women “.

The cabinet is made up of 26 ministers and six ministers of state, with women assigned to five positions, including key foreign affairs and justice portfolios.

Who are the ministers?

Najla al Mangouch: An activist from Benghazi has been appointed head of Foreign Affairs. The lawyer by training became known in 2011 after joining the National Transitional Council (CNT), the official body of the 2011 revolution that ousted Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from power.

Mabrouka Touki Othman Aoki : An academic from Fezzan, with a degree in nuclear physics, will head the Ministry of Justice.

Halima Ibrahim Abderrahmane: Gharyan’s lawyer will head the Department of Justice.

Wafaa Abu Bakr Muhammad Al-Kilani: will head the Ministry of Social Affairs

Houria Khalifa Miloud al-Turman **: ** will head the Ministry of Women’s Affairs

“Big step” but “long way to go”

Some Libyans on social media hailed the announcements as “a big step,” a “leap for society” and a “promising start”.

But activists are less enthusiastic, arguing that the new executive has the opportunity to do more.

In a statement to the UN Human Rights Council this week, Britain urged the GNU to “work towards the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, including in conflict resolution and empowerment. decision ”.

“Women remain under-represented in all institutions and governance processes in Libya,” he warned.

Acting Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, sworn in on Monday, was selected last month alongside a three-member presidential council in a UN-sponsored process launched in November.

Activists underline her promise when a candidate in the UN process allocates 30 percent of cabinet posts to women.

In the current line-up, women make up only half of that amount.

“We are proud to see Libyan women appointed to key positions, but also unhappy that the prime minister has not kept his pledge,” said Ghalia Sassi, president of the Maaha (With Her) women’s association.

She vowed activists would keep the pressure on the government to adjust its course, but said there was “a long way to go.”

“Silence” women activists “

Although Libyan women played a key role in the 2011 uprising, they had a limited presence in previous transitional bodies and in the current parliament.

GNU’s predecessor, the Government of National Accord, headquartered in western Libya and established in 2016, had just two women in around 30 portfolios.

A parallel eastern administration, unrecognized by the international community, had only one.

And while a decade of insecurity and conflict has had a profound impact on daily life in Libya, a worrying development has been violence against rights activists, including women.

In November, unidentified gunmen shot dead lawyer and activist Hanan al-Barassi in broad daylight in Benghazi.


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