Impressive turnout for the third international women’s event

Some of the women at the IWiL event, enjoying the afternoon sunshine (Photo: Nadia El-Ahmar)

The third International Women in Libya (IWiL) event, held at Tripoli’s Al Waddan Hotel on Saturday, attracted over 150 women from countries across the globe, who are all living and working in Libya.

The Waddan’s Leptis Magna Ballroom quickly filled up with women eager to get to know new people, and conversations flowed.

Pictures from previous events were shown, as well as images of the mountain city of Gharyan. IWiL is organising a day trip to Gharian for its members at the end of the month.

This is one of many events planned. Other IWiL projects include a book club, and a project supporting the female scouts in a campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer.

With women from a range of backgrounds and occupations, plenty of topics arose, from business and family life to weapons. One Libyan woman said: “I don’t know why people feel the need to fire bullets at weddings. Do they want to turn a wedding into a funeral?”

A pharmacy student at Tripoli University made the suggestion that there should be women-only beaches in Libya, so women who love swimming can have the space and privacy to pursue the hobby.

An Irish-Libyan women explained that she and her family felt safer living in Libya than in Ireland.

Later in the afternoon, hotel staff threw open the doors to the veranda and women poured out to soak up some sun, take pictures and enjoy the view of the Waddan’s pool and palm trees.

IWiL was founded by Yolanda Zaptia, a director of Know Libya consultancy, and Adela Suliman from international law firm Clyde and Co. The organisers thanked the Waddan for hosting this month’s event.

IWiL is a new local network for both expatriate and Libyan women who want to exchange ideas and socialise with their peers who live and work in Libya. IWiL holds monthly meetings. The next event will be on Saturday 11 May, with the venue still to be confirmed.