Women's studies in Sudan but not in Tunisia?!!
While waiting in Cairo Airport for the next flight to Kenya, I have some thoughts to share with you.
I met an impressive lady from Sudan who made me rethink about the status of women in Tunisia.
She was sitting right next to me on the plane. We had a little chat, then I asked her about her stay in Tunisia. She was attending a seminar gathering professors from all over the Arab region to discuss the Educational System. Then I asked her :"and what do you teach?". "Women's development", she answered. Well, I figured out then that they have women's studies in Sudan and my reaction was :" oh, interesting but we actually don't have it in Tunisia". She confirmed that she surprised the Tunisian attendees at the seminar when introduced herself as a professor of women's development. Well, they must be surprised if not ashamed, like I do feel.
I've always thought that Tunisia as an Arab country is very much advanced in terms of women's issues in comparison to the region. However, I really start to doubt! Tunisia doesn't have one single shelter for women abused, homeless or subjected to violence while new shelters are built every now and then in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan... It is only on the International Day of women, March 8th 2012, when the provisional president Marzouki mentioned the need for the shelter and said "I am surprised that we don't have a shelter in Tunisia"!! Then, the first step has been taken by the Ministry of Women and Family, on June 21st, by relaunching the strategy of 2010 putting on the table again the issue of violence against women. No practical measures have been really taken though and no action plan has been implemented. The idea of the shelter initiated by the government at this point seems to be a politicized decision either will remain an idea till the next elections or will be unsuccessful project if it will quickly be launched -bâclé- for political reasons .
Besides, Tunisia has never introduced development, gender or women's studies in the educational curriculum! It is annoying, but I am happy that I discovered today that I don't have to fly to Spain to study women's programs but I have just to go next-door to Sudan!!