global gender gap

Tunisia in the Global Gender Gap Report 2018

Tunisia in the Global Gender Gap Report 2018

The Report
       The Global Gender Gap Report was published by the World Economic Forum in December 2018. This index measures the gap between men and women in four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. It doesn’t wish to establish priorities for each country, but simply to provide data and a clear method to identify shortcomings in each area. Countries can therefore establish their own priorities according to their economic, political and cultural environment. The 2018 report ranked 149 countries on a grade ranging from 0 (disparity) to 1 (parity).

Tunisia obtained a global grade of 0,648 and was ranked 119th out of the 149 countries. Tunisia had a bigger gender gap than the global average. In comparison, Tunisia had obtained a grade of 0,629 in 2006. Tunisia obtained good results in the education and health areas. However, gender gaps are alarming concerning the economic and political empowerment of women.

1. Economic empowerment
          Regarding economic empowerment, Tunisia obtained a grade of 0,439 and ranked 135th in the list. In 2006, Tunisia had obtained a better grade of 0,480.


There are three worrisome indicators relating to economic empowerment. First of all, the indicator “Legislators, high officials and managers” analyses the ratio of women to men holding positions of responsibility. This indicator obtained a grade of 0,173 putting Tunisia in the 127th rank. In fact, only 14,8% of legislators, high officials and managers are women. In the workplace, women face major obstacles to take over such leadership roles. The lack of women in management positions both in the public and private sector is one of the major obstacles that must be overcome to achieve economic gender parity.


Next, the indicator estimating the income earned by men and women (in US$ and adjusted according to the purchasing power) obtained a grade of 0,270. Women earned on average a yearly income of 5 098US$, and men, 18 889US$. The gap is colossal. The results suggest that the economic power remains mostly in the hands of men. Men remain the main economic reference of the household and often retain control over their financial assets. This gap can be explained by two different phenomena. The most important one is the magnitude of unremunerated work in Tunisia. Women carry out most of the unpaid labor, such as domestic work, family care and child care. The second phenomenon is that there is a growing gap between women’s and men’s revenue. The report highlights the fact that there aren’t any laws imposing pay equity.

Finally, the indicator on labor market participation received a grade of 0,354. This result is far behind the global average of 0,669 and ranks Tunisia 137th out of 149 countries. The rate of participation in the workforce proves the great gap in men’s and women’s participation on the labor market. This rate measures the proportion of working age population (15 to 64 years old) that participate actively on the labor market, either it be by working or by seeking work. The rate of participation in the workforce is of only 27,1% for Tunisian women, while it is of 76,6% for Tunisian men. This means only 27,1% of Tunisian women that are of working age actively participate on the labor market. This could be explained by the lack of antidiscrimination laws against women in the workplace and the high female unemployment rate (22,2% for women, which is almost double the rate of 12,5% of men).

2. Political Empowerment

Tunisia obtained a grade of 0,216 thus ranking 55th in this sector. This grade slightly improved from 2006 when it was of 0,110. Three indicators analyze the gap between men and women in politics.


Even though Tunisia was near the global average on political empowerment of women (0,223), Tunisia remains far from parity. The first indicator “Women in Parliament” measures the percentage of seats in Parliament held by women. Results show the Tunisian Parliament is composed of 31,3% of women, and of 68,7% of men. The report highlights the fact that political parties have not adopted voluntary quotas to encourage women’s participation.

The second and third indicator measures the gap between men and women at the highest level of political decision-making. The indicator “Women Holding a Ministerial Position” measures the percentage of ministerial portfolios held by women. In Tunisia, only 21,3% of ministerial portfolios are held by women, while 76,9% of such portfolios are held by men. Finally, the third indicator estimates the total number of years (during the ultimate fifty years) which saw a woman be Head of State or Head of the elected government. Tunisia obtained a grade of 0,00 since no woman has ever been head of State. The last fifty years have only seen men hold this top political position.

Tunisia’s Place in the Region

Following the current trends, the global gender gap in the Middle East and the North of Africa will be closed in 153 years. The most complex gender disparities to solve are the economic and political empowerment of women that would respectively take 202 and 107 years to resolve.

With its 119th rank, Tunisia is the second-best country in the Middle Eastern and North of Africa region behind Israël (46th rank). Tunisia is followed by the United Arab Emirates (121th rank) and Koweït (126th rank) that hold the 3rd and 4th positions in the region.

Recommendations inspired by the report to reduce gender inequity related to economic and political empowerment in Tunisia
  • Obtain gender equity in the inheritance law;
  • Attach greater value to unpaid labor;
  • Adopt a law that makes pay equity mandatory;
  • Adopt a law against workplace discrimination against women;
  • Increase the rate of women participation in the workforce through employment support policies tailored for women, and through longer maternity leaves;
  • Insure ministerial gender equity; and
  • Establish female quotas within political parties



association aswat nissa - violences faites aux femmes

Aswat Nissa calls for the enforcement of the Law on Violence Committed Against Women

Aswat Nissa calls for the enforcement of the Law on Violence Committed Against Women


Aswat Nissa took part in the 16 days of international activism against violence committed against women. The 16 days of activism 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.

Violence committed against women, often ignored and trivialized, is a scourge of the Tunisian society. Numbers don’t lie: on average, 3000 complaints are made each month in police stations by assaulted women according to Imen Zahouni, general director of the Ministry of Women, Family and Childhood. This number would be much greater if it accounted for unreported acts of violence committed against women. The Tunisian government adopted in 2017 an Organic Law on the Elimination of Violence Committed Against Women. Even though this law recognizes physical, psychological, sexual, political and economic violence, questions remain unanswered about its application. For example, article 13 of this law states that women victim of violence benefit from public and community care, and immediate lodging. However, according to Imen Zahoun, only seven shelters for women victim of violence currently exist in Tunisia. Aswat Nissa therefore demands for the practical application of the law.

Firstly, in the short-term, Aswat Nissa calls upon the government to invest in the practical implementation of the law. Violence committed against women are of significant cost for the Tunisian economy and society. It has been proved that the costs of implementing the law would be inferior on the long-run than inaction. Acts of violence affect the daily life of women and can reduce their economic participation and productivity. Moreover, acts of violence committed against women are an important public health issue. Female victims of violence are more at risk of suffering from depression, from anxiety, and from an alcohol consumption problems, of contracting HIV, and of suffering from a miscarriage. It is also important to consider the sufferings caused to children and the negative impacts on future generations of such violence. An investment in the enforcement of this law would therefore have important economic impacts on the entire Tunisian society.

Secondly, Aswat Nissa aks the government to adopt a long-term approach sensitive to gender in its ministries. Seemingly gender-neutral, the budgets however have a different impact on women and men. Gender-sensitive budgeting allocates resources so as to answer the specific needs of women and men. A gender-sensitive budgeting initiative would highlight the underfinanced aspects of the Organic Law on the Elimination of Violence Committed Against Women. This tool is necessary for the implementation of the law since it directly affects twelve different ministries. By adopting this tool, decision-makers can use this information to lobby for a growth in funding for judge or police training, for accommodation centers, etc. Gender-sensitive budgeting would allow an efficient allocation of available budgetary resources and would allow the implementation of all the law’s provisions.

In the name of all victims of gender-based violence, Aswat Nissa demands an investment for the application of the law, and for the adoption of a gender-sensitive approach to budgeting. Aswat Nissa won’t remain silent in the face of the non-application of this law.


Aswat Nissa célèbre le 18ème anniversaire de la résolution 1325

Aswat Nissa celebrates the 1325 Resolution’s 18th anniversary

Aswat Nissa celebrates the 1325 Resolution’s 18th anniversary

Aswat Nissa célèbre le 18ème anniversaire de la résolution 1325
October 31st 2018
Eighteen years ago exactly, Tunisia (as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council) voted in favor of the 1325 Resolution. This resolution was adopted unanimously on the 31st of October 2000.
        WHAT ?

The 1325 UN Resolution is the first formal and legal document imposed by the Security Council on the different parties to a conflict to force them to respect women’s rights and to support their participation during peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction. This resolution called upon the States to adopt concrete measures to apply its dispositions within their laws and their public policy.

        WHY? Aswat Nissa is convinced that the State must better involve women in conflict prevention, in peacebuilding and in peace consolidation. Women promote dialogue and create coalitions for peace. When women are around the table, they bring alternative solutions to a conflict and anticipate potential tensions and violence. They prioritize peace and security for themselves, for their family and for their community. They contribute to a more holistic, inclusive, and thus, sustainable peace treaty.


For two years, Aswat Nissa has been working on the implementation of the 1325 Resolution in Tunisia with female politicians from different political parties, with MPs from different parliamentary groups, with government representatives and with the rest of the civil society. Aswat Nissa also directly participated in the drafting committee for the first 1325 National Action Plan for Tunisia (adopted in July 2018).

One of the key elements of the Action Plan is to reform many aspects of the security and justice system in respect to gender equality. To do so, Aswat Nissa launched its study entitled “Women and Overall Security: Towards a Reform of the Security Sector Sensitive to Gender in Tunisia”. This study was based upon a country-wide field investigation. This study allowed a better understanding of the citizen’s perceptions of the security sector, and of women’s participation in this sector. From these results, Aswat Nissa concluded that the Tunisian citizens were in favor of a stronger female presence in the security sector, thought that women had the same skills as men in the security sector, and were in favor of women holding decision-making positions in the security sector.

In October 2018, for the first time in Tunisia, Aswat Nissa launched a network of female MPs and ambassadors for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Tunisia. The group of women committed itself to working together for the institutionalization of gender-responsive budgeting within the Organic Budget Law, but also to pleading in favor of horizontal and vertical parity for the legislative elections.

      WHAT NOW?
In 2019, Aswat Nissa continued its work surrounding the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Tunisia through its Advocacy Department. This department applies Aswat Nissa’s experience surrounding gender and security. It will allow Aswat Nissa to analyze the place of gender in Tunisian legislation relative to security, and to plead for the integration of a gender approach when laws and public policy relative to security are elaborated. This work will extend to Parliamentary discussions held within commissions relevant to the security sector (namely the Finance, Planning and Development Commission, the Organization of Administration and Armed Forces Commission, the Health and Social Affairs Commission, and the Special Security and Defense Commission) to assess how the gender dimension is taken into account in issues relative to the security sector.
Aswat Nissa célèbre le 18ème anniversaire de la résolution 1325

Tunisia 17 Years After the Adoption of the 1325 Resolution on Women, Peace and Security

Tunisia 17 Years After the Adoption of the 1325 Resolution on Women, Peace and Security

Aswat Nissa célèbre le 18ème anniversaire de la résolution 1325

Seventeen years ago, Tunisia voted in favor of the 1325 UN Resolution as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. This resolution was adopted unanimously on the 31st of October 2000. This resolution is one of the first official documents that recognized women’s role as actors of change to establish and maintain peace. Furthermore, this resolution wished to better protect women and girls against violations of their fundamental rights, and to give them a better access to justice and tools to fight discrimination.
In 17 years, over 60 countries (including France, Sweden and Iraq) developed a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security for the government to establish priorities to implement the 1325 United Nations Security Council Resolution.
Tunisia launched a national debate on the elaboration of a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in 2018. The steering committee (tasked with elaborating the Action Plan) was presided by the Ministry of Women, Family and Childhood and included members of different ministries such as the Defence Ministry and members of many civil society organizations, including Aswat Nissa.
 In 2017, Aswat Nissa launched its Women, Peace and Security program in partnership with UN Women (United Nations entity for gender equality and women empowerment) and DCAF (the Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces). This program wishes to facilitate a constructive and inclusive dialogue between the civil society and Parliament to adopt a National Action Plan that reflects the various perspectives of Tunisian women on peace and security issues.
According to Aswat Nissa, multiple reasons should encourage the State to better involve women in conflict prevention, in peacebuilding and in peace consolidation. Women promote dialogue and create coalitions for peace. When women are around the table, they bring their perspective and wish to bring peace and security for themselves, for their family and for their community. They contribute to more holistic, inclusive and thus sustainable peace treaties.
Some might wonder why Tunisia would be concerned by a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security when the country isn’t per say in a context of conflict. It is important to state that many democracies at peace (such as Sweden and France) have already established a National Action Plan. Also, many elements could endanger the current Tunisian peace, namely its geographic position, the potential return of jihadists and the political, social and economic instability in the country.
Applying article 46 of the 2014 Constitution (that addresses equal opportunity between women and men) and international conventions on women’s rights (such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)) could guaranty the implementation of the 1325 Resolution.

The Comprehensive Law on Violence Committed Against Women adopted recently by the Tunisian Parliament could contribute to a better protection of women’s rights in Tunisia. This law also creates an inclusive and egalitarian framework founded on human security.

Many studies establish a correlation between the peace level and prosperity of a country, and the equality of rights and opportunities. For example, a study prepared by the Georgetown University for Women, Peace and Security, entitled the WPS (Women, Peace and Security) Index, established such a correlation. In fact, countries are more pacific and prosperous when women benefit from equal rights and opportunities. According to this Index, Tunisia holds the 93rd position (out of 153 countries), far behind the United Arab Emirates and just in front of Rwanda.

Aswat Nissa offers a trusted and collaborative environment to learn and to exchange formative experiences. Aswat Nissa helps female MPs and female politicians participating in its programs, reinforce their capacities and develop technical skills. Aswat Nissa also fosters dialogue so women can exchange experiences between themselves. Through Aswat Nissa, the women also benefit from Tunisian and international experts’ knowledge on the 1325 Resolution.

association droit femme tunisie

Police Brutality during the Protest Against the Administrative Reconciliation Law

Police Brutality during the Protest Against the Administrative Reconciliation Law

Many protestors were hurt by police agents during a protest against the Law on Administration Reconciliation organized in fron of the parliament on September 13th.

Saida (aged 34) was one of the victims and witnesses of the police brutality. “I saw a policeman slap and hit one of the protestors in the head with a device he had in his hand. Another protestor had tattered clothes, and almost all the protestors on the front line received blows. The policeman who attacked the protestor in the head was replaced with another, since everybody had seen what he had done. When the night fell, the lights were turned off in front of the parliament and the policemen started pushing the protestors to make them move backwards. They barricaded the whole street and only left the sidewalk to protest.

This is where the assaults took place. I was in the front line and the policemen were telling us to move backwards, but we were telling them we couldn’t anymore since no space was left behind. We told them they should tell us to leave, but not to move backwards. The policemen started insulting and screaming at us. I received a hit from one of the agents in the leg, and immediately, I felt one of them touching my private parts.

I was enraged! This is when I was hit with a baton in the same area. I was hysterical and my friends pulled me back and gave me water to calm me down. At one point, there weren’t any girls in the front line.”

Another protestor, Boutheina (aged 38), painted a similar grim portrait: “We were trying to push the fence (since the policemen had closed the whole road) when I saw a protestor of Manich Msemah having her hair pulled by one of the policemen. We had the feeling of being choked, they were surrounding the protestors with the fences and were hitting them in the legs. Two protestors were hit with a baton on the shoulder. I asked one of the policemen why they were insulting and pushing us. He answered that he was simply doing his job. Many of the victims of the assaults were girls.”

Two activists from Aswat Nissa, Sarra Ben Saïd and Farah ben Mna, were verbally assaulted by the policemen present at the protests. The insults and the provocations were numerous.

Police agents are supposed to protect citizens and make sure that the law is respected. Such abuse and behavior by police unfortunately recall the techniques used by the old regime. Aswat Nissa condemns all forms of verbal and physical brutality against citizens and calls the police to be respectful of protestors in the future.


association femme - corruption tunisie

Tunisian Women at the Forefront of the Fight Against Corruption!

Tunisian Women at the Forefront of the Fight Against Corruption!

In May of 2017, more than six years after the Revolution, and after Tunisia had been ranked 75th on corruption perception in a study by Transparency International, the Head of government of the Second Republic, Youssef Chahed, declared war on corruption. This announcement had been eagerly awaited by the Tunisian people, and mostly, by members of the civil society (as watchdogs of the revolution).
In this fight against corruption instigated by civil society and by some Tunisian politicians, we also find many dynamic and motivated women.

Henda Fellah d’I Watch: “I have never been a victim of corruption, so what I do isn’t to serve my own interests, but the country’s interests.”

One of the most renowned faces of I Watch is surely that of Henda Fellah. Indeed, at only 29 years old, this young woman is coordinator of the “Legal Advocacy Advisory Center” project in Tunisia. These centers exist in over 60 countries around the world and provide free and confidential legal services to witnesses and victims of corruption. Within this structure, Henda Fellah and her team of legal experts process all types of corruption files.
From a young age, this woman was passionate about politics but refused to choose a particular ideology to follow. Accordingly, she turned towards the civil society to improve the country. She started her experience with “I Watch” as member of the “Election and Corruption” group. “I wanted to be surrounded by young people, people my age who progress together.”

Even though she has never herself been victim of corruption, Henda feels invested of the mission to curb corruption in Tunisia. “I have never been a victim of corruption, so what I do isn’t to serve my own interest, but the country’s interests.”

Her activism within this organization wasn’t perceived well by the people close to her, mostly her mother, who worried for her. Her mother’s fear was retriggered after the Nabil Karoui affair who planned to launch a defamation campaign against “I watch” and its members (according to a vocal recording). “My mother told me that they were boys and I was a girl, so I couldn’t stay out late since they would follow me”. This advice didn’t damper this militant’s tenacity and courage.
According to Henda Fellah, her courage stems from her colleagues at I Watch.

During the latest protests against corruption, many women took the streets. For Henda, this female participation brings a level of seriousness, credibility and security to the protests. Many political women and men joined the fight against corruption, such as Samia Abbou.

Samia Abbou : « I want citizens to be involved in the fight against corruption. I want them to be involved with us.”

One of the most involved politician in the fight against corruption is Samia Abbou. For this MPfrom Democratic Current, known for her fervent interventions in the media and in Parliament, it is more than time to stem this social evil that threatens the nation’s future.
She states that “if we want to save the country, we must start by fighting corruption since it is everywhere, in every sector: in our administration, in our documents, in our electricity, in our schools…”

Samia Abbou doesn’t shy away from accusing the government, certain MPs, and business men and women from being involved in shady business. For her, the Tunisian people must understand what is happening. “If the citizens realized what these people do and if the media were honest on their corruption coverage, they would revolt against these people.” The MP is determined to make her voice and her message heard, regardless of the price. She declares that “I don’t want my children, or anybody’s children, to live what we have lived”.
Many citizens identify themselves with Samia Abbou. She gives them courage and breaks the stereotype of the female politician with a limited field of work. “I want my co-citizens to be involved with me in this fight.”

Since the announcement of the law proposal on economic reconciliation, and especially with the “Manich Msamah” campaign, the Tunisians’ involvement in the fight against corruption greatly increased. This movement restored Samia Abbou’s “hope in the country” and showed how the people “understood that the country was founded on a corrupt system”.

Imen Ben Ghozzi of the Manich Msamah campaign : « As soon as I opened my eyes in this country, my problem was corruption »

Within the collective behind the “Manich Msamah” campaign, there is Imen Ben Ghozzi for whom the fight against impunity and corruption started well before her involvement in this social movement. In fact, following the 2011 Revolution, the young woman stormed the street to denounce the injustice suffered by the January 14th victims. This involvement led her to participate in the launch of the Manich Msamah campaign. She explains that « as soon as I opened my eyes in this country, my problem was corruption ». Imen’s activism forced her to make many sacrifices. Tensions arose within her couple because her husband was angry against her for devoting so much time to the cause. However, the young activist couldn’t conceive living without leading a determined fight against corruption. “I can’t live differently. If my life was devoted solely to my family and my work, I think I would be depressed. Sometimes, I feel as though it’s the oxygen I breathe. To avoid falling into depression, I must feel I am doing something that will improve my children’s life.”
The future generation is therefore this young woman’s source of motivation. “My parents didn’t advocate enough. I feel as though I can make a real change for my children’s future.” For her, fighting against corruption is an obligation because “as long as there is corruption, nothing will evolve in the country”. Through her commitment in the campaign, Imen also wants to encourage other Tunisians to come on board. “My fight against corruption doesn’t limit itself to protests, but extends to my family, my work administration, my neighbors and my grocer.” She wishes to make them realize the magnitude of corruption and the danger it represents for the country.