Strong faith is a core part of Alaa Murabit’s identity — but when she moved from Canada to Libya as a young woman, she was surprised how the tenets of Islam were used to severely limit women’s rights, independence and ability to lead.
She wondered: Was this really religious doctrine? With humor, passion and a refreshingly rebellious spirt, she shares how she found examples of female leaders across the history of her faith — and how she speaks up for women using verses from the Koran.
Brought up in a Muslim household where she was equal to her brothers, she was shocked to see how women were viewed and treated in her new country.
She enrolled in medical school, but felt frustrated by the gender discrimination she experienced.
During her fifth year in med school, the Libyan Revolution broke out. Murabit was invigorated by how women were embraced as decision-makers in the movement.
She founded The Voice of Libyan Women (VLW) to focus on challenging societal and cultural norms to make that the case all the time. Many VLW programs — like the Noor Campaign, which uses Islamic teaching to combat violence against women — have been replicated internationally.
Murabit is an advisor to many international security boards, think tanks and organizations, including the UN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group and Harvard’s Everywoman Everywhere Coalition.
An Ashoka Fellow, Murabit was a Trust Women Hero Award Winner in 2013.