From where I stand: Women are the leaders of today

a month ago
Khadeja Ramali. Photo courtesy of Khadeja Ramali.

Cross-posted by UN Women

For Khadeja Ramali from Libya, empowering young women to participate in the peacebuilding process is crucial to rebuilding the country post Arab Spring.

"I used to think peacebuilding was purely political and only for the older generation of political activists. But the Arab Spring changed my view. Young people were the most affected by the conflict. My whole life was turned upside down and I didn’t even have a say in it. That’s why I was excited to engage with peace and security issues. I wanted to bring my experience to the table. 

I co-founded “Project Silphium” in 2014, an initiative focused on increasing the participation of women in peacebuilding, as a response to the growing frustration of young women who felt they were not being heard in post-conflict Libya. We were being told to stay silent and not comment on politics, and to stay hidden where we were safe. While we didn’t have access to any of the decision-making tables, we did have the internet. By using technology, we could create our own mega microphone and make people listen to us. 

We led many training sessions for young women on the UN Security Council resolution 2250, the first-ever thematic resolution on Youth, Peace and Security. Through these trainings, we showed young women how to participate in peacebuilding in their own communities. We sought to remove the stereotypes about peacebuilding and redefined it in terms that women understood. One of our peacebuilding projects targeted young women who had no prior experience of participating in public life. Nearly half of the girls went on to join other civil society organizations after the project ended. 

There is a still a long way to go in increasing the representation of young women in the peacebuilding process in Lybia. I am determined to continue advocating that Libyan women are the leaders of today… They don’t need to wait until tomorrow to have a say.”

Khadeja Ramali, 27, is a geophysicist and co-founder of Project Silphium. She is currently collaborating with Libyan women's Radio Network Project, which aims to expand the capacity of women media professionals in Libya. At the Youth CSW organized by UN Women during the 57th session of the UN Commission of the Status of Women, Ms. Ramali spoke about the synergies between the Women Peace and Security Agenda and the Youth Peace and Security Agenda. Her story is related to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions. empowerment of women and girls.

Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.

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