Many questions have arisen as to how the revolutions in the Middle East will affect gender equality and women’s rights. In Libya, nurses speak out regarding how they feel attitudes towards them have changed.
“The female nurses have a simple rule: no crying. No matter what comes through the doors of Misrata’s main casualty hospital, there can be no tears.
‘We don’t cry in public,’ explained Amna Obied, 23, a medical student who volunteered in March for war work in the now besieged Libyan city. ‘If we cry we do it in a room away from the others.’
Keeping their tears private is part of the nurses’ mission to convince the men they can work on an equal footing with them. For all its liberal political credentials, Misrata remains a fiercely conservative city when it comes to the role of women.
War forced the authorities to draft in the women, and the women now want to keep their status after the fighting is over.
‘We have more respect, the men see what the women can do,’ said Obied. ‘I have more responsibility now after Gaddafi because of the important work we do.’”
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