Building momentum: women's empowerment in Tunisia

Research reports and studies
November 2014
Victoria Chambers and 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.

Corrections and clarifications
This report was amended on 19th February 2016 to correct the birth rate from 2.13 on page 19 of the full report and 2.3 on page 2 of the summary and translation to 2.2 in each document.
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