Friday, April 11, 2014

Despite a New Constitution, the Fight for Gender Equality in Tunisia Continues

    Friday, April 11, 2014   No comments

After more than two years of arguments and concessions between Islamic and secular parties, on January 26, the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly ratified the country’s new Constitution.

When it was signed, assembly members spontaneously started to chant the national anthem and congratulated each other for the achievement. Indeed, there was cause for celebration. Tunisians signed one of the most progressive Constitutions in the Arab world, one that includes a commitment to gender equality. Yet, the celebratory media coverage failed to mention that other Arab countries, such as Algeria and Morocco, have also committed to gender equality in their Constitution.


Article 45 of the Tunisian Constitution guarantees “equality of opportunities between women and men to have access to all levels of responsibility and in all domains” and Article 46 seeks parity “between men and women in elected assemblies.” In an interview for UN Women, Sana Ben Achour, law student and women’s rights activist, explained that the Tunisian Constitution is the first one in the Arab world to ensure equal access to the presidency. Additionally, Article 20 states: “All male and female citizens have the same rights and duties. They are equal before the law without discrimination.” This accomplishment would not have been possible without the work of feminist activists and women’s organizations that have advocated for gender equality.

Isr Ed

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