Women’s Rights in Tunisia:
This is an interesting article on both the history of women’s rights in Tunisia and how the government is working to advance women further in the post Jasmine Spring era. As the article states Tunisia has a great reputation in the Middle East and African in its treatment for women. However, as one female lawmaker said in the article, just because they are held in high regards to their treatment of women in Tunisia, does not mean they don’t have work to do in how they are regarded world wide.
To further show just how the government regards women in Tunisia, here is a PDF from the world bank giving a breakdown in regards to education, careers, etc.
Both of these articles show that women in urban areas are well educated, and can and do obtain how powered and influential careers. Tunisia began to have a strong track record in its treatment of women back in 1956, well before a lot of “modern” nations had even conceived of the idea of women’s advancement in society. According to the World Bank PDF women make up 34% of judges, 41% of medical professionals and 31% of Lawyers, other statistics show women have a strong influence in many sectors of Tunisian society as well. Both of these articles show that Tunisia has a strong record in their regard of women.
In contrast to the two articles above, this article shows that Tunisia still has some work to do. The article reiterates what is stated in the other two above, but in this take on women’s issues it shows the dichotomy of rural life vs urban life. While these laws to advance women in society exist and have for over six decades now, it is still hard to let go of old gender biased cultural views. This is especially true in rural areas. This article states that women in rural areas are subject to old ways of thinking in regards to men being superior, women being considered less or property.
This article goes on to explain better that while women may have worked hard and earned educations, careers, and have good families, in the instance of avoiding harassment the country has a long way to go. Over half the population has reported some sort of harassment. Women are still subject to sexual violence, both by strangers and spouses. They also report a high incidence of domestic violence. These articles show that while the government has put in place a lot of good protections to ensure the advancement of women in society, that they still have some work to do in regards to protecting their women’s safety.
Women are obviously highly regarded by the government of Tunisia. They make up a significant portion of those in high powered careers, and in the education system. There are impressive statistics that show women have the ability to obtain a high powered career. In many ways the women in the United States should be jealous and demanding of the treatments that Tunisia affords its female population. I think we in America are conditioned to expect that women in the Middle East and Africa are treated poorly and subject to harsh laws that restrict them in every way. I also believe that we have been conditioned to believe that Islam is overly restrictive and biased against women. Tunisia is a government showing us that in both cases we have been taught wrong. While the same treatment is not given to women across Africa and the Middle East, we can see how all countries are not the same. In contrast, we can also see that while the women may be highly regarded by their government, it does not mean that men across the world are not entrenched in old ideas of misogyny. Women in the US share the same threat of violence as their counterparts in Tunisia. Women in both countries also fear reporting violence due to embarrassment and the idea that they will not be believed, also that if they are believed that justice will not be served. I think this just goes to show that whether we like it or not, the whole world has a long way to go in the advancement of women, however, we can also see that Tunisia should be looked at as an example to the world in how the government should be protecting and advancing its women.