Tunisia has the most modern civil status law in the region, which has been in force for more than 50 years. From a legal point of view, men and women are on an equal footing in many areas with the exception of inheritance law. In everyday life, however, the gender ratio differs greatly depending on the region and level of education. Tunisia is one of the countries in the world with the highest percentage of women in science and technology courses. But there is still a gap in income. Women are still underrepresented in politics. As a result of increasing urbanization and rural exodus, women are often in charge of houses in rural areas worked in agriculture, where they guarantee a household income under sometimes dangerous conditions, while the men work in the cities and rarely come home. While for some women, especially in the cities, it is completely natural to go out at night, others sometimes hardly have the right to leave the house alone. Gender roles, traditions and social conventions are changing and heterogeneous. Prostitution is legal in certain areas and in designated zones, but illegal prostitution is much more widespread than legal.
According to hyperrestaurant, the most famous champions of women’s rights in Tunisia were often men. In addition to Habib Bourguiba, the religious scholar and trade unionist Tahar Haddad stood out, who already dealt extensively with the role of women in the 1930’s. His publications served Bourguiba as the basis for drafting the CSP family status law, which he brought forward in 1956. In it he consciously insisted on equality justified by women religiously. In addition to the abolition of polygamy, marriage was only possible with mutual consent; repudiation was forbidden and replaced by a modern divorce law that grants both sexes equal rights. In 1965, a deadline for abortions was introduced and contraceptives were available free of charge for a while. Another reform of the CSP introduced that the mother can pass on citizenship to her children. Nevertheless, women are still not fully equated, especially with regard to inheritance law, even if the new constitution prescribes equality between men and women. In summer 2017, parliament passed a comprehensive reform of the criminal law to better protect women from violence. In summer 2020, a decree was also passed regulating the construction of women’s shelters and the care and rights of women who have been victims of violence.
Critics, meanwhile, accuse the government of promoting women’s issues primarily for image reasons. At the end of 2018, Beji Caid Essebsi introduced a bill into parliament that would make equality between women and men the norm in inheritance law (with an option for the former variant, which is based on Islamic inheritance law). However, the law has not yet been discussed in plenary. The topic polarizes strongly in Tunisia. Proponents emphasize, among other things, the important economic importance of the reform.
The maternity leave, however, is handled extremely restrictive in Tunisia, he was one of the worst in the world, the ILO. Despite widespread equality, violence against women remains a problem. Domestic violence is the leading cause of death among women between the ages of 16 and 44, according to a study. A comprehensive bill to protect women from violence was passed in summer 2017. In addition, various non-governmental organizations are doing massive lobbying for better protection of women. In September 2017, the Justice Ministry overturned an order prohibiting Tunisians from marrying non-Muslims.
The proportion of women in the working population is around 25% (2012), women make up almost a third of judges and lawyers, and they are overrepresented in higher education.
The Tunisian government has always made the promotion of women its top priority and emphasized the importance of women’s rights. Leila Trabelsi, wife of Zine El Abidine Ben Alis, president of the Arab Women Organization, also appeared regularly at charity events and presented herself as a supporter of women. August 13, 1965, on which the CSP was proclaimed, is a public holiday in Tunisia. However, it was mainly used by the government as a propaganda tool. In addition to this state feminism, civil society organizations actedlong difficult. The Association tunisienne des femmes democrates (Atfd), which, among other things, offers legal advice for women in divorce cases and, together with other civil society organizations, reviews the election coverage of the Tunisian media, was the only NGO under Ben Ali that succeeded in gaining a larger degree and advocate women’s rights independently of the government.
After the upheaval in 2011, however, a large number of organizations have been founded that campaign for the interests of women in various areas. At the scientific level, the Center de recherche, d’études, de documentation et d’information sur la femme (Credif) examines the role of women in Tunisia.
Gender diversity and the status of LGBTQI * people
Homosexuality is taboo in Tunisia, even if there is a small, more or less hidden homosexual scene in the cities. Homosexual acts can be punished with up to three years in prison and convictions are regular. Several non-governmental organizations have been campaigning for the rights of sexual minorities since 2011. Cultural events are also increasingly addressing questions of sexual diversity. Particularly indignant when the state treats LGBTQ * people is the fact that men are repeatedly subjected to rectal examinations, the results of which are then used in court as evidence of their alleged homosexuality. In the Corona crisis, LGBTQI * people in Tunisia suffer particularly badly from the measures to contain the pandemic.