Libyan women reach high office

News Desk

Libya’s new government includes five women, with two in key portfolios — a first for the country nonetheless criticized by activists as insufficient and as not living up to a UN commitment.

The country descended into conflict after Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, with an array of forces battling to fill the void.

The transitional Government of National Unity, which took office this week, faces daunting challenges, including unifying the country’s institutions, ending a decade of fighting marked by international interference and preparing for December elections.

The Cabinet comprises 26 ministers and six ministers of state, with women assigned to five posts, including the key foreign affairs and justice portfolios.

The US ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, has called it a “historic time for Libyan women,” while UN Women hailed the appointments as “a major step for advancing women’s rights.”

Some Libyans on social media have welcomed the announcements as “a big step,” a “leap for society” and a “promising start.”

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