Women of Merit: Tunisia Is a Different Arab Country as Far as Women's Emancipation Is Concerned. since Independence in 1956, the Country Has Worked Tirelessly to Move Women from the Traditional Subservient Role to Their Current Status of Partnership with Men. It Is an Example to Other Countries

New African, December 2010 | Go to article overview

Women of Merit: Tunisia Is a Different Arab Country as Far as Women's Emancipation Is Concerned. since Independence in 1956, the Country Has Worked Tirelessly to Move Women from the Traditional Subservient Role to Their Current Status of Partnership with Men. It Is an Example to Other Countries


Today, Tunisian women can rightfully take pride in the fact that they have transcended the stage of emancipation and claiming rights, to that of full-fledged partnership with men in managing the affairs of the family and society, as well as in political life."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

These words, spoken by no other than Tunisia's First Lady, Mrs Leila Ben Ali, sum up beautifully the political and social standing of Tunisian women today.

It has been a silent revolution, radical even, especially considering the environment in which it has taken place - the Arab world - where the popular image of women (as held by the outside world) involves the burkha and the veil, and four wives outdoing themselves to minister to their man, the king of the family.

Not so in Tunisia. There it is one man, one wife, decreed by secular law! And any infractions are met by the full force of the law.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Yet an Arab country, Tunisia started out 54 years ago, by a conscious policy of the first post-independence government under President Habib Bourguiba, to emancipate its women as a necessary tool for national development.

Even in those early days, the government was firmly convinced that there could be no prosperity or development without women's participation, especially when half of the population were women.

That policy has worked so well that today the First Lady, Mrs Leila Ben Ali, a woman comfortable in her own skin, can say with pride: "In Tunisia, we no longer speak of women's liberation, as women are now full-fledged partners of men ... Tunisian women are now one of the main pillars of social progress."

That is what it should be, and why not? For, "no nation can prosper with half of its population marginalised" as Mrs Ben Ali often says. This, of course, ignores the fact that Tunisia itself was built on the foundations laid by a strong woman leader, Elishat (who the Greeks called Elyssa Didon), the founding queen of Carthage, the once powerful city-state that is now part of Tunisia.

The exploits of Elishat in the establishment of Qart-hadasht (or New City, which the Greeks called Carthage) have passed into legend, but no one can forget the woman who stood tall and strong on the shores of what is now modern Tunisia, and saw Qart-hadasht rise and rule the seas and the world around it.

That is the tradition that built Tunisia. It therefore came as no surprise when the first Act passed by the first post-independence government in August 1956 was to ban polygamy and make men and women equal in the country.

The Code of Personal Status, passed on 13 August 1956, was groundbreaking in the context of the wider Arab world where polygamy was the norm, and equality between men and women was somehow unknown.

But Tunisia pushed on. Fifty-four years later, with an even more pro-women-emancipation president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, at the helm for the past 23 years, the Code of Personal status has been amended and re-amended to make women transcend mere equality with men to become effective partners in national development.

This has made Tunisia a different Arab country. For example, one of the new amendments to the Code of Personal Status has created a national fund in which payments of alimony and child support to divorced women and their children are put. Payments are made from this fund based on binding court decisions in favour of divorced women and children born in the marriage, when difficulties arise in executing the judgements.

Another amendment has imposed a severe penalty for domestic violence and sexual harassment. Yet another amendment demands that there should be no discrimination between men and women in all aspects of labour.

Other amendments have allowed the following: (1) Child support automatically paid to divorced women who have been granted custody of their children.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Women of Merit: Tunisia Is a Different Arab Country as Far as Women's Emancipation Is Concerned. since Independence in 1956, the Country Has Worked Tirelessly to Move Women from the Traditional Subservient Role to Their Current Status of Partnership with Men. It Is an Example to Other Countries
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.