Alaa Murabit

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2014


This profile was prepared when Alaa Murabit was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Alaa is creating a society that values the fundamental rights of all citizens, and is inclusive of women in all spheres. Within tribal communities of the North African region, starting with Libya, the citizen sector is in its infancy and there is a prevalent attitude surrounding the marginalization of women from mainstream social activity. Alaa is at the forefront of reversing this issue by using context specific approaches to address the underlying philosophy and mindset of the community. Alaa is changing the religious discourse regarding women’s position in society and participation in different aspects of public life by utilizing positive references in the religious teaching to make a strong case for women equality in the society. By doing this, Alaa is not only mobilizing community members to critically analyze their own social and cultural traditions, but is also using the same vehicles which have led to the denial of women’s social, economic and political rights to reverse the situation.

Critical to Alaa’s work is creating an inclusive community movement on the national level through policy change and advocacy, and on the local level through awareness, network establishment and mobilization. To reach a national scale, Alaa targets policy makers and the media to create a public opinion supportive of women’s rights. Locally, Alaa engages religious leaders (Imams), schools, universities, and community members, mobilizing them to publicly cite and display Quranic verses and other religious teachings which imply a positive understanding of women’s roles and rights. Alaa’s community movement involves gathering statistical data on the different challenges women face to enhance her media and policy efforts, carrying out awareness campaigns and critical thinking classes in schools as well as university debates around contentious women’s issues; and uniting women’s voices within spaces that empower them.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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