Young women plan to take to the streets of Tripoli and Benghazi on Tuesday to protest over women’s rights and, in . . .[restrict]particular, the decision by the NTC to drop plans reserving 10 percent of the seats on the national constituent assembly for women.
The 200-member General National Congress, which will draw up the country’s new constitution, is to be elected in June. Article 1 of the draft law for elections to the Congress, issued in early January, had set the 10-percent benchmark but at a meeting of the NTC on Saturday, 28 January, this was removed.
“In our society, people will not vote for women.” said Magdulien Abaida, one of the founders of the 7 February Movement which is organising the protests next Tuesday. “That’s why we need the quota.” The group has other demands. “We wants laws against wife beating and sexual harassment of women,” Abaida said. “We also want children of Libyan women married to foreigners to be have the right to Libyan nationality.”
The group is also calling for Libya to fully enact the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, usually known as the UN Charter of Women’s Rights, and which it signed up to in 2004.
These wider demands emerged after a core group of women set up a Facebook site last week in protest against the NTC dropping the 10-percent quota. “We found that women wanted more than that. They wanted more rights”, Abaida explained. She said that as a result of the NTC decision and the Facebook site, women’s rights groups are being set up across of the country.
Although the NTC dropped the 10-percent quota is has also said that political parties taking part in the elections must have equal numbers of men and women on their list of candidates for the 136 seats that will be elected by the party list system and proportional voting. This, however, is seen as largely meaningless because there will be nothing stopping parties from placing women way down their lists. [/restrict]