European women are being forced to work like men, travel alone and sleep in hotels out of necessity rather than choice, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi lamented to an incredulous crowd of 1,000 Italian women on Friday. In a rambling speech that alternately drew boos and applause from the smartly-dressed women, Gadhafi said European women had been pushed into the workplace after wars in the last century because their men had been killed off.
The women in attendance, including ministers and prominent businesswomen, initially responded with boos but applauded when Gadhafi said he believed in equal rights for men and women, who should be free to marry and divorce at will.
And this from the Inquirer:
Women in the Arab and Muslim world are treated like "furniture" and the situation requires a "feminine revolution", said Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, ANSA news agency reported Friday.
"Women are like a piece of furniture you can change when you want and nobody will ever question why you did so," Kadhafi told an audience of women who included leading figures from the world of culture, politics and the economy.
"The world needs a feminine revolution based on a cultural revolution," he added, without elaborating.
Kadhafi, on the third and final day of a visit to Italy, evoked great women in Italian history, from the writer Matilde Serao to actress Claudia Cardinale.
Before his speech, Italy's equal opportunities minister Mara Carfagna said she would call on Kadhafi to support moves to ensure that African women could benefit from the rights enjoyed by women around the world.
Kadhafi, who has in the past described himself as a defender of the feminist cause, has a unit of women-only bodyguards trained at an elite Libyan officers' academy.