Together We Build It organization (TWBI) has revealed the 20 List: 20 Libyan Women You Must Know. The List aims to shed light on influential, inspiring, and successful Libyan women. The list includes women from different fields, ages, and different regions in Libya. In August 2020, TWBI launched an open and public call for nominations. The organization’s call for nominations was met with wide enthusiasm. Our team received more than 900 nominations for women from several backgrounds and different regions in Libya. The selection processes took into account the diversity of age, fields, achievements, and geographical diversity. Following these criteria, we selected 16 Libyan women and 4 group categories representing Libyan women. TWBI extends sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the list from the nomination stage to the announcement of the list, and we especially thank the German embassy to Libya for their generous support. And ElKul TV, and Huna Libya for their support for Libyan women, and their support for this list.
The Libyan Women
This spot is an open spot, meaning it is for every Libyan woman who continues to dream, strive, and achieve her goals and dreams. The women and group categories included in the 20 List: 20 Libyan Women You Must Know, reflect only a small part of the achievements and successes of Libyan women who chose to stick to their dreams and pursue them, regardless of the obstacles along the way. Libyan women have been very resilient and adaptive to all the difficult circumstances that the country went through. They have always been on the frontlines playing a positive role. Libya still includes tens, hundreds, and even thousands of strong women working in silence, far from the spotlight, and under social and security challenges. Therefore, We have designated a special place in this list for all Libyan women to tell every girl, young woman, and woman in Libya to “Believe in yourself first.”
Many people may know Rajaa’ as “Joury Al-Salabi” and look to her as an influential figure in her field. She is a dermatologist and a graduate of the Arab Medical University, and she has done her best to fulfill her dreams and develop herself professionally. As she created a new image that differs from the stereotypical image related to her job as a “dermatologist and cosmetologist”. Joury is a very well known Libyan figure on Instagram, on her platform of more than 40,000 followers, Joury utilises her platform to address women’s rights issues in Libya such as gender-based violence. She is also a very strong advocate for the environment, and inspire her followers to adopt an environment-friendly life style. As she’s also interested in supporting women’s rights. Joury said that one of her priorities is to consolidate the role of women in Libyan society and to enact laws that preserve and fair their rights.
Haniya holds an MA in International Business and English Language from the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom. She has more than 15 years of experience in intermediate and higher education as she is a faculty member at the University of Sirte. Haniya is an elected member Municipal Council of Sirte. Moreover, she is a founding member of the Elected Women Network, the Libyan Women Peace Support Network, and the Municipal Council Women Network. In her everyday work, Haniya advocates for women’s inclusion in social justice and peacebuilding.
Aya is one of our youngest women featured on the 20 List. Aya holds a BA in law and is interested in the constitution and human rights. She has 9 years of civil work experience in support of the democratic transition in Libya. Aya Besbas has been a member of the H2O organization since 2011. She has participated in many initiatives and campaigns calling for an end to armed conflicts and promoting peace-building in Libya. She also organized a series of workshops for several young women in Tripoli on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women’s role in peacemaking and security.
Rhadia is a pediatric doctor and the World Health Organization office director in the southern region of Libya. She holds a MA degree in hospital management from Benghazi University and is a Faculty of Medicine member at Sebha University. She is very passionate and determined to continue her mission despite all the obstacles placed before her because of her gender, which did not discourage her from continuing her work and did not weaken her will. And currently, Rhadi is leading WHO’s response to covid-19 in southern Libya.
Elham is the co-founder and director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya. She has practical law experience for more than 17 years in the UK and about 10 years of experience working on human rights and international humanitarian law. She holds a degree in Contemporary Arab and Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford University, a law degree from Nottingham Law School, and an MA in International Law from SOAS College in London. She was a former fellow in the International Law and the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House and a visiting professor at the Helena Kennedy Center for International Justice. Elham believes that any achievement of hers has always been linked to people in the first place by helping them understand that the law is a tool to empower them, not to oppress them. She worked on the “My constitution” campaign to raise awareness of the constitution covering 37 Libyan cities and villages to build trust between the constitution, law, and citizens.
Hadia is a prominent artist with a MA from the UK in ceramics making. She is interested in preserving cultural and community development by offering physical space for cultural and arts events. Hadia founded “Ali Gana House” for Culture and became a member of the Old City Management Committee, Tripoli.
Shadda is the CEO of “Deraz Corner Design and Build.”She is an advocate for women’s and youth inclusion on all levels. She works towards providing a safe and comfortable space to increase youth productivity to establish an atmosphere for positivity and creativity. Shadda’s main priority is the citizen, as she believes that adequate conditions must be provided to study and work effectively. She believes that this lies through many steps, such as providing a decent living, maintaining the infrastructure and urbanization of cities, and getting rid of the corruption that does not allow young people to advance the economy.
Enass holds a Ph.D. in breast cancer from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Part of her interest in conducting and developing scientific research, she has become part of important research conducted on cancer in Libya. Enass also heads the Genetic Engineering Department at the Biotechnology Research Center and the Technical Committee for Corona Pandemic Control at the Center and is a member of the Laboratory Technical Committee in charge of the Center’s Scientific Advisory Committee. And has also played a role in localizing the RT-PCR technique in Libya.
Souad is an advocate of women’s rights and people with special needs. Souad holds a BA in Business Administration and is a researcher in Islamic history. Women’s economic empowerment is among her top priorities. She is the director of a training center for sewing and other crafts. Now she is a trainer and supervisor at the Libyan Center for Professions and Construction, and at the level of ten municipalities, she has participated in the establishment of training and development centers for women.
Fardous Rajab Muhammad Mustafa, known as Hanan Elmgawab. She is a well-known media broadcaster that tackles important issues like the orphans’ rights to have proper identification papers. When her parents passed away, the Social Welfare Institution tried to force her to return to the girls’ care home for orphans. However, she never stopped addressing the problem until she got her identification papers. In 2014, she founded and managed Al-Wasat Radio in Cairo. In addition to working in various media organizations, she received many media-related prizes and certificates for her work.
Turkia holds a MA degree in sociology and is preparing to discuss her Ph.D. thesis in social change and local development. She is the founder of Radio Ariete, specializing in women’s issues. Turkia is the president of the Atwar Organization for Research and Social Development since 2015. Turkia ran for office in the first elections in Libya and has obtained a seat in the Council for the year 2012. She is currently heading the Research and Consulting Department at the Faculty of Forensic Sciences, University of Tripoli. Turkia is also very keen and interested in working on national reconciliation and peace-building through her participation in many activities and events.
Jazia is part of the Criminal Department faculty under Law school at Benghazi University. She was the first female dean of Law School at the University. She has legal expertise in constitutional, legislative, and criminal law. Jazia is also a proficient writer in legal policy on corruption, consumer rights, construction laws, terrorism, electoral integrity, and medical practices. Moreover, Jazia is a woman’s rights activistis and an advisor to many civil society organizations and is a founding member of some.
Sahar has won many medals in Arab, African, and Olympic championships. She is also part of the Libyan national team in the Libyan Paralympic Committee’s weightlifting game. Sahar is the first Libyan woman to lift 100 kilos to win a world medal, participate in three consecutive Olympic Games, and the first Libyan woman to win an African medal in rowing. Moreover, Sahar holds a computer certificate and works as an employee at the Social Solidarity Fund, and holds the status of Deputy Director at the Youth Home.
Mabrouka has a BA in media and journalism. Over the years, she worked very hard to strengthen her in-field journalism work and is always keen on addressing people’s problems. She worked with many international and local news agencies. Mabrouka El-Mesmari participated in many civil society activities in her city, Benghazi. She worked on a local dialogue session project and participated in the National Peace Initiative launch, where she was the only woman participating. Moreover, she took part in the first youth conference in the south of Libya. She is also a member of the Libyan Women Platform for Peace and is always keen on breaking gender roles and stereotypes.
Ghazala is an athlete in the Libyan national team for people with special needs. She says with passion “The most important achievement is that I represented my country – Libya – in international championships.” Out of love to represent her country in the international sports arenas, she prefers to introduce herself as a national team player. Currently, she is working in the Ministry of Education.
Libyan Women Who Lost
Their Lives for Libya
They are women who dreamed of freedom, justice and eradicating corruption, but the cost of this dream was their lives. The assassination of Hanan Al-Barassi in Benghazi in November 2020 comes as a link in a chain of targeting women pioneers in Libya. The list of women who were targeted in 2014 included: the lawyer Salwa Bugaighis, who was assassinated in the city of Benghazi, the representative, Fariha al-Barqawi, who was killed in the city of Derna, and Intisar al-Hasairi, who was assassinated in the city of Tripoli. We have designated a place on the list for these women in appreciation and loyalty to the great sacrifice they made to reach stability and build the rule of law.
Girls and Women
in the Scouts
The General Movement of Scouts and Leaders in Libya is a non-political, educational, and voluntary civil movement. The first Scouting Division became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1958. The first scout’s movement for females was under the scout leader Nabiha Zoghbia with the scout leader Najia Qeniwah and the scout leader Ali Khalifa Al-Zaidi. By joining the scout’s movement, Libyan women scouts got opportunities to develop their physical, mental, and social capabilities, enabling them to play an important role in society, especially throughout Libya’s crises. In appreciation and respect for women in the security sector, we have designated a place on the list for all Libyan women who are members of the Scouts movement.
Women in the
Security institutions such as the police and the military may be the most dominant fields by men. Despite this, we find Libyan women who have found their way in the field of security jobs. In 1978 the Libyan Military Academy began to train women, as the government encouraged young women to join women’s military academies and the police. Libya became one of the first countries in the region with high-ranking female officers and women soldiers. Integrating women in the security sector is highly needed for the safety of women. The benefit of women who graduated from the military and police colleges and their rehabilitation and integration into the security sector has become very important to provide Libyan women security services and preserve their dignity. In appreciation and respect for women in the security sector, we have designated a place on the list for all-female military college graduates, all police college graduates, and every Libyan woman belonging to the military and security women category.
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