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!!


Maaz Alnugomi said…
مقال مثير للإعجاب.. أعتقد أن لولا هؤلاء الرائدات للحركة النسوية في السودان والمدافعات عن حقوق اخوتهن -بالرغم من قلة الاماكنيات المتاحة لهن- لضاعت الكثير من الحقوق التي ناضل سلفهن للحصول عليها منذ استقلال السودان في 1956. وحقا يستحقن الإشادة لوقفتهن أمام الردة التي شهدتها أوضاع المرأة والمفاهيم المضادة للمساواة منذ وصول الاسلاميين للسلطة في 1989. أنا كذلك في فهمي المحدود أن المرأة التونسية سبقت العديد من رصيفاتها في المنطقة. وربما بعض من المؤسسات الخاصة قد يعزز من دورها أو لا.. لست متأكدا.
Aya.Chebbi said…
شكراً على التعليق... نعم لقد سبقت ا لمرأة التونسية العديد من رصيفاتها في المنطقة ولكن لازلنا نغض النظر على أمور بسيطة ولكن مهمة، وأنا معجبةٌ بما حققته النساء في سودان فنظال المرأة التونسية سيبدأ الأن فكل مكتسباتها كانت مبادرة من الأنضمة السابقة وبعض النشطاء في حركة الإستقلال... لكن للمرأة إليوم ألحق والحرية لتبليغ مطالبها بنفسها To be what she wants to be not what people or government think should be!
Anonymous said…
Very powerful post, I Met you at gv2012 ande decided to follow your work, so touching, you have inspired me.
Aya.Chebbi said…
Thank you Steve :) It has been a pleasure meeting you.
Anonymous said…
Il Tunisia we need a shelter for men not for women
Aya.Chebbi said…
Definitely we shelter for the the homeless; men, women and children but in our society we need to PROTECT women.
Anonymous said…
thank you, it was a pleasure meeting you too. keep up the good work.


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