The Family, the Individual, and the Sexes
Social life in Libya centered traditionally on the individual's family loyalty, which overrode other obligations. Ascribed status often outweighed personal achievement in regulating social relationships, and the individual's honor and dignity were tied to the good repute of the kin group, especially to that of its women.
Women have played a role secondary to that of men in most aspects of life, and tradition has prescribed that they remain in the home, often in seclusion. The status of women in the 1970s, however, improved substantially, and the once-common seclusion became less common, Nonetheless, to a considerable extent the two sexes continued to constitute largely separate subsocieties, each with its own values, attitudes, and perceptions of the other.
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