Do Arab Women need greater protection?

One morning, Enas Abdel Wanis was about to leave home to go to work at the National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights (NCCHR) in Benghazi, in Libya, when she discovered her car had been burnt. Her crime had been to advocate for better security for civilians and the disarmament of militias that had been terrorising her city. Since then, Wanis has had to comply with the security restrictions set by her family: to do her job (document and monitor human rights violations), she now has to be chaperoned by her father on field visits.

It is the same story in Yemen, where Morooj Alwazir, co-founder ofSupportYemen, says: "It is a struggle to even be part of society, it is a struggle to speak your mind, to feel safe in your own neighbourhood, your only safe space is your bedroom."

While the deteriorating security situation is hard for everyone, Alwazir says it is especially hard for women, whom it discourages from leaving their homes. Women who have lost husbands in the conflict in Yemen find they are stigmatised, and opportunities to earn a living are severely restricted because the streets are unsafe. "Every time I am on my way to the airport, I feel like civil war is about to happen tomorrow. I see trucks and trucks of weapons coming into the country – it is very scary," Alwazir says.