My voice for her: supporting women candidates

women candidates
Candidate Radhya Bourawi is elated to have voted after a three-hour wait (Credit: UNDP)

283 women candidates from across Libya participated in the launch of the “My Voice for Her” national awareness campaign for women candidates that took place in Tripoli on 25 June 2012. The campaign attracted the attention of the Libyan Government, civil society, international community and the population as a whole. The Prime Minister of Libya, Chairman of the High National Elections Commission, the Vice President of the National Transitional Council and the Special Representative of the United Nations in Libya officially launched the campaign.

“we feel empowered as women candidates, with practical skills training and the attention given to us by the media. We also feel encouraged by today’s event and we want to test the skills we learned in the workshop”

The elections for the National Congress provided new opportunities for Libyan women to articulate their political, economic and social aspirations through a democratic forum. Confronted with social norms in a male dominated society, 634 women candidates have taken up the challenge to compete in the elections of July 2012, with courage and a strong will to succeed. The campaign is part of a UNDP programme to train women candidates on how to lead an electoral campaign and engage with media and their constituents in their quest for a seat in the National Congress. The awareness campaign for women candidates is an initiative of 2 Libyan NGOs; the Libyan Women Union and the Maan Nabneeha Movement, with support from UNDP. Close to 200 women candidates were trained by UNDP, in partnership with Libyan civil society organizations, in Tripoli, Benghazi and Sabha.

During the event, a short documentary on the role of Libyan women throughout Libya’s history was showcased. It was a source of inspiration to all attendees and was met by thunderous applause and a standing ovation. One of the woman participant thanked UNDP by saying “we feel empowered as women candidates, with practical skills training and the attention given to us by the media. We also feel encouraged by today’s event and we want to test the skills we learned in the workshop”

2012 Libya elections