August 13 – National Women's Day in Tunisia

Posted on August 13, 2015

Today is the anniversary of the 2003 adoption of the following line in the Code of Personal Status:

We believe that total equality between men
and women remains a fundamental claim.

Women in Tunisia enjoy many freedoms and rights that are not enjoyed by women in neighboring countries, or by women in other largely-Islamic nations. For example, Tunisian women can vote and seek office. They can get college educations; they can file for divorce; they can choose from many different careers. 

Furthermore, political activism in Tunisia has included strong women and women's voices for a long time!

However, Tunisia is in flux and some influences are now pushing it toward a more strict viewpoint about Islamic law and women's roles in society.

It's interesting to note that in 1981, women wearing a hijab was against the law in state offices; later, the hijab was banned in many other sorts of institutions. In some cases, women were forced to remove their hijab before entering a school, workplace, or university – even, sometimes, on the streets!

Since the Tunisian revolution of 2011, the hijab ban has been lifted. However, some women now complain that the hijab is becoming a social requirement in some towns or groups.

These photos show that, although
some Tunisian women wear the
traditional hijab, many do not.
What many people would wish for is for the hijab to be an actual option – and that other sorts of clothing, also, would be actual options. That would mean that there would be no pressure from people to wear it or not to wear it, no cat-calling if a woman's legs showed, no snubbing or scolding or shaming if a woman's outfit shows her shape, nor if it doesn't, if it shows some skin, nor if it doesn't.

  • To find out how to help women in the world who struggle to get the rights that Tunisian women have, consider checking out actionaid.
  • To learn more about Tunisia, check out this and this other earlier posts.

Also on this date:

International Left-Handers' Day

Sharp-shooter Annie Oakley's birthday

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