March 8 is international Women's Day. This Day is a celebration of just how far women have come since the start of the last century, but also about how far some have yet to go. It may be an American celebration but most women in the West have experienced positive changes during their lives. The International Day link begins:
"International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women's oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights."
In Middle Eastern countries though Women's rights are under attack.
The Arab Spring of 2011 brought about significant changes in many Middle Eastern countries. These countries though are now far from settled. Democracy remains a distant hope for some. Libya is one country that is in turmoil.
Since Colonel Gaddafi and his regime were ousted from Libya it looks as if women's rights in that country are dwindling. Gaddafi may have been a tyrant, a despot or worse but he encouraged some women's rights in Libya. Media sources have reported that Libya's new leaders are looking to adopt Sharia law which will set back women's rights decades in Libya, and what would be centuries in the West. Polygamy may sound appealing to a man who want's to take on many wives, but what of women?
The Libyan revolution was helped by female members of the population but their reward could be a step back to the "dark ages".
Mustapha Abdel Jalil, the current Libyan leader, is facing many challenges. Tribal wars and divisions in Libya are growing. Jalil is not an elected leader. He has links to the old regime. His promise of Sharia law must surely be a cause for concern to women and the West who helped bring about Libya's regime change. The NATO alliance which changed the face of Libya created as many issues as those it solved. Internal divisions look set to split Libya.
Concerns regarding Sharia law in Libya have been raised more than once in recent months. Claims if acts of cruelty by the new
governing body tend to go unreported. The Libyan people deserve a good outcome after fighting hard to remove Gaddafi and his regime. This means all Libyan people, not just men. Will the West sit back after being complicit in the changes in Libya? Will it ignore the plight of Libyan women?
Report on possible polygamy in Libya at Russia Today here
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog