Statement from SRSG Bathily on International Women's Day: Investing in women today drives tomorrow's progress

8 Mar 2024

Statement from SRSG Bathily on International Women's Day: Investing in women today drives tomorrow's progress

TRIPOLI – 8 March – The pressing need for action and investment to empower women and drive forward progress in Libya cannot be overstated.

UNSMIL stands in solidarity with women in Libya recognizing their resilience and unwavering contributions to society. Libyan women play a crucial role in shaping and advancing Libya's political and economic landscape, and their meaningful engagement in political, economic and reconciliation processes brings advantages to the entire society. UNSMIL commends their past achievements, their ongoing efforts, and their future aspirations.

The active involvement, and equal participation of women in decision-making roles and their inclusion in political and economic processes are fundamental to fostering sustainable peace and development in Libya.

Yet, women in Libya still face tremendous challenges.

They are hard hit by the current economic hardship brought about by the high inflation rate marked by the decline in the exchange rate of the rate of the Libyan dinar resulting from the political stalemate and the mismanagement of public resources. They are also among the first victims of insecurity.

Regrettably, the adopted electoral laws have failed to adequately address women's aspirations for meaningful political participation, particularly in the Senate, where only 6 out of 90 seats are allocated to women.

Additionally,  according to the World Bank (2022) women's labor force participation remains low at 37 percent compared with the 64 percent rate for men. Unemployment reached 25.4 percent for women, surpassing the national average of 19.3 percent. A study by UN Women (2020) states that when employed, women earned less wages compared to men, nearly three times less.

I call on all relevant Libyan stakeholders to invest in women and accelerate progress. I further call on them to support and empower women to assume their rightful role as drivers of Libya’s transformative change. UNSMIL encourages authorities to allocate adequate financial resources that respond to the needs of women and girls.

Investing in women today is an investment in the future prosperity and progress of Libya. By providing women with equal opportunities, we - unlock their immense potential and contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous society for all.

All these challenges would be better addressed by unified and legitimate institutions, which fully represent the will and aspirations of Libyan women and men. It is for this reason that my commitment towards elections with remain unwavering. Today marks another opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment for a safer, more stable and more prosperous Libya that can cater for all its daughters and sons.