When inflation began eating into her state-paid salary, Libyan architect and assistant professor Seham Saleh joined a growing number of Libyan women launching start-ups in the conservative Arab country, where many still think a woman’s place is in the home.
She has been selling drawings aimed at preserving the Libyan identity, while making some money.
Men are the traditional breadwinners, although about 30 percent of women were in the labour force as of 2015, according to a U.N. report.
Women mainly had jobs in the teaching sector, though the need for more family income has changed the situation, a women business incubator based in the capital, Tripoli said.
The Libyan economy is dominated by the state, which employs most adults under a structure set up by former President Muammar Gaddafi.
Once one of the richest countries in the region, the chaos and civil war that ensued after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has seen Libya’s living standards erode.