I'm watching events unfold in Libya and wondering how the emerging nation will shape itself. We are not long past the Arab spring and liberation movements in Tunisia and Egypt, and in the redevelopment of their governments basic human and civil rights for women have not been a priority.
Egypt is a case in point. Women in Egypt have been subjected to horrific harassment and assault attributed to male frustration at the lack of economic opportunity under the regime of Hosni Mubarak. In the uprisings in Tahir Square, women and men stood and rallied side by side. Yet in the aftermath of the transition, there were forceful attempts to literally and figuratively remove women from the public square. And there were sexual assaults used strategically my Mubarak supporters in addition to the rapacious violence of thugs without an articulated political purpose.
I also am looking at Afghanistan and Iraq where women and girls risk their lives for literacy. It's not just the remnants of the Taliban or Al-Qaida who decree that women should be illiterate baby machines with no access to medical care, but members of their own families who are susceptible to the dominant ideology with none to counter it.
There can be no liberation in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else if half the population does not have access to literacy, higher education, employment opportunities and basic health care.