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Why does Libya's incoming government have only two female ministers?

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On 1 March, Libya's Tobruk-based Parliament voted in a new cabinet led by former Interior Minister, Fathi Bashaga, and its 29 ministers, six State Ministers and three Deputy Prime Ministers have all taken their constitutional oath. However it is unclear if, and when, the new government will take office in Tripoli as the outgoing Prime Minister, Abdulhamid Dabaiba has, repeatedly, said that he will only hand over power to an elected government. He accuses the Parliament that voted him in earlier this year, of being illegitimate.

Notably the new government has only one female Minister, Salha Al-Drouqi, who is to take over the Ministry of Culture, and another State Minister for woman affairs. Compared to the outgoing cabinet, which had five women ministers, this is far from women empowerment and gender equality in the country's difficult transitional period.

Libya's Parliament and the United Nations sponsored roadmap called for at least 30 per cent of ministerial posts to be filled by women. The outgoing government failed to meet that target, while the incoming one has done even worse.

MEMO asked three Libyan women how to explain this low female representation in a country that has no shortages of qualified women.

Libya: Washington urges Dbeibeh, Bashagha to calm situation

Ayat Mneina, who describes herself as a freelance consultant and researcher, said that it is clear that "women are not a priority" in Bashaga's cabinet. She explains by saying that even the two women appointed were not given "key positions". Mneina concluded by saying that "there is not much hope for women until we have elections."


© Middle East Monitor

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