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Building momentum: women's empowerment in Tunisia

Research reports

Written by Victoria Chambers, Clare Cummings

​Since independence, Tunisia has made significant progress towards gender equality, extensively reforming family law, and gradually eliminating gender-based discrimination in relation to health, education and employment.

This report shows how recent progress in female political representation has been made possible by half a century of accruing rights under increasingly authoritarian regimes.

Between 1990 and 2011, Tunisia sustained this progress, almost halving fertility rates and achieving 94% enrolment of girls in secondary school.

A range of women’s movements emerged in the 1980s. These played a key role in making women’s equality central to public debate, and helped to draft legislation leading to a gender-parity quota on party electoral lists.

These advances have survived the Arab Spring. In February 2014, a new constitution that advances social and political gains for women was ratified, and in the October 2014 elections women’s representation rose from 4% in 1990 to 31% of the current parliament.

A french translation of the summary, Nouvelle dynamique: autonomisation des femmes en Tunisie, is now available to download.

Victoria Chambers and Clare Cummings