Young Woman Pushes Gender Equality in Libya Through Food-Selling App “Yummy”
A 21-year-old woman is pushing gender standards in Libya through the development of her app, Yummy, which allows Libyan women to sell home-cooked food
“Every cloud has a silver lining,” the saying goes.
To testify to this is Fatima Nasser, who has created a formidable business through her food app, Yummy, despite living in Libya, a country torn by war, where religion doesn’t allow women to work or be employed.
Whenever Libya is mentioned, the mental picture that easily comes to the mind is that of a country where people live under a hot sun in a dry and dusty environment. Not only that, but also of a country covered with ruins, collapsed buildings, and bullet holes, casting a dark shadow and indicating a gloomy past.
However, in the midst of this gloom and hopelessness, a new generation of entrepreneurs has found inspiration, and through innovation and technology, are rising above ancient challenges to provide solutions for common day to day problems.
Fatima Nasser is one of such entrepreneurs who has been able to provide economic empowerment to women in Libya through her app.
Born and raised in Libya, 21 year-old Fatima was only 11 years old when the Arab revolution broke out. Throughout her teen years, she witnessed the violence, destruction, and gunfire that led to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. Though the active war has stopped, the country has never recovered from the aftermath of the crisis.
It is this turmoil and economic crisis that drove Fatima into entrepreneurship. Being a lover of technology, she’s always wondered how she could harness its power and provide a solution to the many problems Libyans faced. With encouragement from her friend Aziza Adam, they launched the Yummy food app, which exists to provide a platform for women to sell food.
In Libya, religion does not allow women to work or be employed. They are also not allowed to interact with men other than their husbands. According to the World Bank, only one in four Libyan women are employed, which leaves men with the burden of providing for their families. With Yummy, women can now cook from the comfort of their kitchens and sell their delicious product without having to interact with men.
“You have a society that has been closed for 100 years, you just can’t open a communication gate between two genders that were not supposed to talk to each other unless they were married to do business,” Fatima says about the app.
Almost immediately after she launched her platform, she was accused of being a spy because of giving employment opportunities to women, but she didn’t mind the opposition, commenting that the kinds of opportunities her platform has given women in Libya would lead to a gradual societal mind shift on what the role of women should be.
“Here they won’t accept that women work. Here your father or brother is responsible to give you money and everything that you need as a woman is in the house,” says Ekhlas Ekrim, 26, who has also signed up with Yummy. “Working with Yummy is wonderful and has made things a lot easier. The work itself is not hard, society is,” she added.
Tech entrepreneurs like Fatima cast a ray of hope for women in Libya, where humanitarian atrocities such as slave trading continue to happen in broad daylight. Despite such atrocities, it is through movements and steps as simple as being able to sell food that will drive a better quality of life for the citizens of Libya.