Voice of Libyan Women

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The Voice of Libyan Women
FounderAlaa Murabit
Key people
Alaa Murabit, Kholoud Htewash, Najat Dau, Ahmed AlShaibi, Nadia El Fallah, Sara Barka, Salsabil Zantouti, Khalifa El Sherif, Haneen Khalid.
Websitevlwlibya.org | noor.vlwlibya.org

The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW) is a Non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in order to advance and protect women's rights in Libya. VLW is headquartered in Tripoli and has branch offices in Zawia and Misrata.[1] VLW is still very much a youth-led organization which continues to advocate for women's development[2] and to challenge the prevailing norms of Libyan society.[3] VLW works to spread information at a national level by creating local teams made up both of individuals and organizations.[4]


The VLW was founded in August 2011 in response to the February 17 Libyan revolution.[2] It was founded in Tripoli by Alaa Murabit, a young doctor and women's rights activist.[5] Murabit was in her last year of medical school and after the revolution, she felt that there was a "window of opportunity for women in Libya."[4] By November, the group had organized the first-ever International Women's Conference in Libya.[6] Also, within a very short amount of time, the VLW had created a women's center in Tripoli and was offering classes.[5]

Murabit shared that VLW attempted to use "proven international models" for their group, but found only closed doors in conservative, largely Sunni Arab populated Libya.[7] By modifying their approach and using peaceful interpretations of Islam in their work, they found a greater voice among both men and women.[7] VLW's approach, using religion to "gain local-level support," has been a unique way to enact change in Libya.

Projects and programs[edit]

One Voice[edit]

One Voice, which took place November 11–15, 2011 was organized by VLW and was the first International Women's Conference ever held in Libya.[6] The conference included topics on politics, religion, economics and had a final, closed session for women-only on topics such as women's health and gender-based violence.[6]

Project Noor[edit]

Project Noor, which also means "light" in Arabic,[8] is a program that seeks to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual abuse of women in Libya.[9] It is a media campaign which uses billboards, radio, television and social media to spread its message.[8] Project Noor is unique in that it seeks to address ideas surrounding these issues by using religious language in a predominantly Muslim country.[9] VLW seeks to reach out to these religious areas in Libya and correct the "misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Islamic teachings" which have eroded women's rights in the Middle East.[9] Project Noor uses Islamic teachings against violence, especially those interpretations of the Quran that emphasized the equality of women to men.[7]

Nadia El-Fallah helped start Project Noor in 2013, and hopes that it can be a "tool for sparking conversations in people's homes, mosques, (and) coffee shops."[9] Palestine and Jordan have both requested VLW to replicate Project Noor in their respective countries.[4]

International Purple Hijab Day[edit]

International Purple Hijab Day is an event in where women wear a purple hijab to show a "reminder of Islam's strict stance against domestic violence."[7] Murabit states that "Purple Hijab Day directly contests a Muslim's falsely perceived right to abuse a wife, daughter, mother, or sister."[7] The first Purple Hijab Day in Libya was in 2012 and the 2013 event saw 13,000 Libyans involved.[7] The date of Purple Hijab Day (the second Saturday in February) occurs in order to remember the murder of Aasiya Zubair, who was a female architect found stabbed and beheaded by her abusive husband Muzzammill Hassan.[10] Men and those who do not wear hijabs are encouraged to wear a purple scarf, tie or ribbon on Purple Hijab Day.[11]


  1. ^ "Voice of Libyan Women". Saferworld. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b "The Voice of Libyan Women". Zoom Company Information. July 2015 – via Lexis Nexus.
  3. ^ Khan, Sheema (27 July 2015). "Getting Past Victimhood Starts With an Honest Look in the Mirror". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Giving a Voice to Women in Libya: Five Minutes with Alaa Murabit". Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Violence Against Women Does Not Cease Just Because People Can Vote, Global Fund for Women Says". The Tripoli Post. 12 July 2012 – via Lexis Nexus.
  6. ^ a b c "Libyan Women Want a Say in Running the New Libya". The Tripoli Post. 19 November 2011 – via Lexis Nexus.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Murabit, Alaa (14 March 2013). "In Libya, Islam - and a Purple Hijab - Help Spurn Domestic Violence Against Women". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Media Campaign Gives Libyan Women a Voic". Al Arabiya. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d "Finding the Voice of Libyan Women in Islam". Your Middle East. 3 August 2013 – via Lexis Nexus.
  10. ^ Majeed, Hadayai (12 February 2013). "The Origin of The International Purple Hijab Day". Project Sakinah. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Libya Herald". Libya Herald. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.

External links[edit]