In Libya, Zahra' Langhi was part of the "days of rage" movement that helped topple the dictator Qaddafi. In their first elections, Libyans demanded a more inclusive law, giving every citizen the write to vote and run, and employed an innovative "zipper ballot," that ensured equal representation from men and women of both sides. Yet the gridlocked politics of dominance and exclusion won out.
"We need a discourse that honors and implements mercy instead of revenge, collaboration instead of competition, inclusion instead of exclusion, compassion, not rage. These are the ideals that a war torn Libya needs to achieve peace, for peace has an alchemy, alternation between feminine and masculine perspectives – that is the real zipper. And we need to establish that existentially before we do so socio-politically."– Zahra' Langhi
Zahra' Langhi is the cofounder of Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP), a movement advocating for women’s socio-political empowerment and peace-building. She is a gender specialist, civil society strategist, political activist advocating for peace, human rights and women’s leadership, scholar, and researcher in the field of Middle Eastern history, metaphysics, mysticism, and female spirituality in comparative religions. In conjunction with Karama and the UN Women, she coordinated the Libyan Women’s Political Empowerment (LWPE) program, aimed at empowering women in Libya to become active participants and leaders of political, economic, and social reforms, and to ensure that gender equality and women’s rights are fully integrated in democratic transition, including in governance processes, legislation, and policies. Langhi led LWPP’s initiative of lobbying for the introduction of the zipper list (alternation of males and females in political parties) in the election law, which has secured 17.5 of the seats in the National Congress.