Open letter from a group of feminist NGOs to the president Kais Saied

Open letter from a group of feminist NGOs to the president Kais Said

Open letter from a group of feminist NGOs to the president Kais Said


Tunis, in the 29th of July 2021

Dear Mr. President,


Following the set of exceptional measures announced by the presidency of the republic on July 25th which came in response to the lack of political stability, the deterioration of economic, social and health conditions, the deep sense of injustice and inequality felt by the people as well as  the rampant corruption and growing nepotism, and the merging the culture of impunity, the undersigned are following with deep concern this shift in the political path and the severe crisis that our country is witnessing on all levels.

 The crisis aligns with the absence of an effective response to the global pandemic and the delay in the vaccination process. In the last few years, we have witnessed an exacerbation of the phenomenon of violence and feminicides. Women’s dignity has been compromised and violated even in the Parliament while authorities like the Parliament’s Bureau remained criminally silent.


Accordingly, it is important for the undersigning NGOs to :

·       Express their support for the legitimate popular protests stemming from all of the above. We stress that not listening to the people’s concerns can lead to the fall of any political leadership

·       Consider that the political class is responsible for the numerous failures, especially those who collected the majority of votes and were entrusted with this people’s lives, safety and dignity. These failures made us face a stifling crisis in the absence of all guarantees that should have been provided by the constitutional court  which should have been established over 7 years ago. 

·       Urge the President, Mr.Kais Said, to provide us with a road map that will allow us to follow the developments of the situation in a transparent and participatory manner and respect the gains of the revolution as well as the values of the Republic. We urge the President to set a time limit for each measure and adhere to it. We also ask him to beware of dangerous slips, especially considering the fact that the branches of power are under his authority .

·       Following the decision to lift the immunity of the members of parliament, we ask the President to accelerate the prosecution of those proven to be involved or suspected of corruption. Moreover, we ask the President to treat the files of political assassinations with the utmost seriousness  in order to achieve justice and put an end to the culture of impunity. We also would like to remind the President of the case of the MP, Zouhair Makhlouf, accused of sexual harassment and whose trial is pending since 2019. Furthermore, we would like to stress that judicial accountability should include all crimes without discrimination and be based on the principles of fair trial and equality.


● Call for the President to refer to the 2020 Court of Auditors’ report and the information it included about the assigned funds within the framework of international cooperation programs between the government and international and regional organizations.  We also call for a thorough review of the outcome of these funds as well as the agreements recently concluded by the Tunisian state.

● See to the respect of the notion of parity and ensure women’s representation in the new government, which was lacking in the previous governments.

● Call for the President to give the issue of combating violence against women the importance and place it deserves, by placing it at the top of the new government’s priorities and by monitoring the financial, human and logistical means necessary to develop and implement an effective strategy to eliminate this phenomenon.

● Guarantee women’s economic and social rights in general and women working in the agricultural sector in particular. Reform the policies adopted to develop that sector which has remained active and achieved positive results since the beginning of quarantine despite the difficult working conditions exacerbated by the pandemic. We also call for the resolution of the drinking water supply issue, a constitutional right violated in many regions and subject of numerous protests and social movements in the country

● Call for the involvement of youth associations and organizations in this sensitive stage, given the oversight role they played during the previous period.

● Express our readiness to rally, with all components of civil society, around the gains of the revolution, in order to play an effective monitoring role during this sensitive period that Tunisia is going through. The undersigned emphasize the importance of women’s rights and the constant struggle to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against them. We also express our unconditional support to   Minority rights as mentioned in the 2014 Constitution.

●Finally, we call for pursuing the vaccination process, our only solution against the Covid-19 pandemic. We ask everyone to stay vigilant and to avoid violence and division and rely on feminist and citizen solidarity during this sensitive period.

Long live the feminist resistance

Long live Tunisia

The undersigning associations:

Aswat Nissa

Association Femme et citoyenneté El Kef

Joussour de citoyenneté El kef

Voix d’Eve à Sidi Bouzid

Association Selima Sidi Bousid and Kebili

Association Rayhane pour les femmes de Jendouba


sensibilisation sammaa soutek

Sama3 Soutek 2011

Sama3 Soutek 2011

In light of the first democratic elections in the country, Aswat Nissa lauched an awareness-raising campaign called “Sama3 Soutek” (meaning “Let your voice be heard”) aiming to mobilize women on the importance of their civil participation as electors. Aswat Nissa travelled throughout the country and visited places where women would be found (hammams, factories, and households) in order to gather as many women as possible.

Sama3 Soutek 2014

Sama3 Soutek 2014

In 2014, in light of the upcoming democratic elections – the second ones in the history of Tunisia – Aswat Nissa launched the second edition of its awareness-raising campaign called “Sama3 Soutek” (meaning “Let your voice be heard”) aiming to:

  • Raise-awareness amongst women on the importance of their vote;
  • Educate female voters on elections, and specifically, on the importance of the electoral process;
  • Explain the differences between the presidential and parliamentary elections and their respective issues; and
  • Highlight the current issues affecting women in the country, especially regarding education, health, and security.

Great on paper, but how is it in reality?

Great on paper, but how is it in reality?

The awareness-raising campaign “Great on paper, but how is it in reality?” was largely spread on social media during the National Women’s Day in Tunisia, on August 13th, 2015. This campaign denounced the gap between the fairly egalitarian laws in Tunisia and the daily struggles experienced by women.
Tunisia is generally recognized amongst the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries as a leader with regards to women’s rights and gender equality. This reputation is due to the adoption of the Personal Status Code in 1956 which abolished polygamy and gave considerable rights to women in divorce instances. The Personal Status Code greatly contributed to the emancipation of Tunisian women. The 2014 Constitution reaffirmed that progressive position by enshrining principles of equality and of non-discrimination. On paper, Tunisia is a model for gender equality.
However, this flawless picture is far from what is truly experienced by Tunisian women in their daily lives. In 2014, Tunisia was ranked 123rd out of 142 countries on the international scale assessing gender inequality with regards to access to health, education, economic opportunities, and political empowerment. In other words, Tunisia isn’t doing as great as it formally seems.

The campaign contained images of the current situation of women in Tunisia, thus evidencing that despite its good reputation, there is still a long way to go to reach equality. The situation hasn’t evolved since the adoption of the Personal Status Code. It is therefore time for Tunisians to go beyond the status quo and to adopt concrete measures to combat inequalities.

16 Days of Activism Against Violence Committed Against Women

16 Days of Activism Against Violence Committed Against Women

In 2018, Aswat Nissa participated in the international campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, that started on the 25th of November (on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and ended on the 10th of December (on the Human Rights Day). These sixteen days of activism were a great opportunity to raise awareness on violence committed against women, and to act to eliminate such violence. We successfully organized many activities, such as a solidary picnic, an introductory class to self-defense and the launch of a feminist Book Club.

As part of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Aswat Nissa organized a solidary picnic in the Belvedere Park. This event gathered many participants in a safe space where they could freely share their experiences and their opinions on the application of the Organic Law relative to the elimination of violence against women (and its necessary funding), on the importance of education, and on gender stereotypes present within the Tunisian society. A psychologist and a legal expert were present to support the survivors and to enrich the conversation. This picnic encouraged many women victims of acts of violence to testify. Aswat Nissa received a number of calls afterwards from women victim of violence: we oriented them towards specialized centers.

On the 7th and 8th of December, we organized two free introductory classes of self-defense for women and girls. Each class lasted for two hours and was given by an instructor in kick-boxing, Fahmi. The classes started with a focus group so as to allow participants to share experiences and past insecurities.

The goal was to raise awareness on acts of violence committed against women and on the general feeling of insecurity felt by women in public places.

feminist book club

On December 10th, Aswat Nissa launched its feminist Book Club. To end the 16 days of activism, Aswat Nissa launched an event that would continue throughout the year. The December 10th event was an occasion for Aswat Nissa to present itself and to receive reading propositions for its Book Club. The first selected book was a short novel by Fatima Mernissi, a Moroccan writer, sociologist and feminist. The Book Club will meet in January 2019 to talk about Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood.


Aswat Nissa also pressed for the true implementation of the Organic Law relative to the elimination of violence against women. Aswat Nissa asks for more transparency from the government and for the adoption of a gender-sensitive approach in public policy and in budgeting.

You can read our article in French by clicking on this link.

journée internatnale des femmes

2019: International Women’s Day

2019: International Women’s Day

To celebrate the International Women’s Day on March 8th 2019, Aswat Nissa in collaboration with Ciné-Citoyen and the Maghreb Cultural Centre organized a cinematographic event dedicated to short films directed by Tunisian women. This event, entitled Le cinéma tunisien au féminin – سينما في صيغة المؤنث, took place at the Maghreb Cultural Centre of Ibn Khaldoun. This event highlighted the excellent work of 11 female Tunisian directors and the themes they addressed in their short films, notably socio-economic problems facing Tunisian women.

journée internatnale des femmes
journee international femme tunisie