Ibtissem comes from the city of Zawia. She is 40 years old and has 4 children and a degree in Computer Science. This graduate became part of civil society in 2011 after becoming a member of the “17th of February” group for women’s and children’s rights. This voluntary commitment meant she would be interrogated several times by Gaddafi’s militia forces in March 2011.
However, she turned away from this group very quickly after understanding that it relegated women to a mere secondary role. At the same time, Ibtissem felt threatened by the outbreak of armed hostilities in the country and so left, temporarily relocating to Tunisia. In 2016, she founded the organisation “Journey to peace and development” in Tunisia. Her objective is to provide Libyan women with skills that empower them to fully take up their role in bringing about peace and development.
“The Libyan women who started by rescuing and caring for war orphans are today eager for training and to start dedicating themselves to other civil activities such as the fight for equality”, she emphasizes. She cites the campaign “We start with 30” as an example, which aims to guarantee at least a 30% female representation on municipal councils and in management positions in other government institutions.
For her, the biggest hindrance to the journey of women is a lack of confidence in their potential. Women are still wrongly seen as incapable of creating, directing or deciding. Ibtissem criticises this idea that women only exist to play a secondary role. But Ibtissem is optimistic about the future, “Mentality has started to change, albeit in a small way, thanks to the efforts of tenacious women. You can even see it in politics now where women are leading several advocacy campaigns”.