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Democracy, like revolution, is impossible without women. Far from being neutral passive spectators, Arab women, from Tunisia to Syria, and in all Arab cities where the people have taken the streets to demand economic and social rights have been actively participating in all stages of the revolution. Female voices rang out loud and clear during massive protests.
In Tunisia, the revolution has created a space for women to participate as never before. Between 2011 and 2014, the parliament adopted an array of women’s rights laws including an electoral parity clause that stipulates that women should constitute at least 50 per cent of all electoral party lists at all levels of elected councils. Thanks to this law, in the elections held in May 2018, women ended up with 47% of the local council positions. But equal representation has yet to be achieved. Even where women succeed in getting a seat at the table, other barriers persist: entrenched male-dominated power structures and discriminatory attitudes concerning women’s roles in politics often undermine women’s influence.
The webinar will explore how women have contributed to Tunisia's struggle to achieve freedom and democracy and what are the current challenges and opportunities in advancing women's empowerment and participation in the region.
Join the live discussion on 23 March 2020, 3 pm CET
Ouided Bouchamaoui, is the co-laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize 2015 awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Arab spring in 2011. President of the Tunisian Confederacy of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) from 2011 to 2018, she was the first woman elected to this position in the Arab World. The French news magazine Jeune Afrique has identified her as one of the Top 25 Business Women in Africa. Mme Bouchamoi was also a member of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council in 2019.
Sarra Ben Said is a founding member and the current programme coordinator of Aswat Nissa, a Tunisian NGO dedicated to promoting women's participation in the political and policy-making spheres while fighting against all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence.
Giulia Maci, Urban Specialist and Lead of the Cities for Women Programme at Cities Alliance (moderator)