Reaching power and equality with men remains women’s first dream, one that is transmitted from one generation to the next. The case of Tunisia might be the best example to illustrate the giant move towards gender equality in a developing country. The process started while Tunisia was still under French colonization, with reformers, like Tahar Hadded, who called for a better status to women. The effort continued with the first Tunisian president, Habib Bourguiba, and the proclamation of the Personal Status Code (PSC 1956) which contained a number of revolutionary measures granting women their basic rights as free citizens.
When the regime of Ben Ali is overthrown during the revolution known as the Arab Spring (December 2010), Tunisia and the newly-written Constitution reinforced the advantages that the PSC has given to women, despite the will of a few emerging religious parties to impose rigid behavior codes on society and on women in particular. Yet, the civil society and politicians showed remarkable resistance against the attempt to deprive women of their rights in the name of religion.
The post-revolution political scene was marked by a more active involvement of women in political life. First of all, the number of female ministers and female members of Parliament has risen. Secondly, July 26, 2017 was memorable day in the history of Tunisian women, since the Parliament passed a bill that aims at putting an end to all sorts of violence against women. Any physical, sexual, economic, or verbal aggression against women will be punishable by law. Such bill aims at discouraging all sorts of misogynist attitudes that women may undergo. For instance, sexual harassment will be seriously penalized. Workplace and wage discrimination will also be sanctioned.Besides, rape will no longer be settled through the rapist’s marriage with the victim, as was the case before the law.
On Tunisian Women's Day, further measures were taken for the sake of women. Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi asked for readjustments to current legislation and practices so that men and women receive equal shares of the family inheritance (instead of the half of what the brother is entitled to receive). The Tunisian president also asked the government to repeal the decree that disallows the marriage of Tunisian women to non-Muslim men without official conversion to Islam. These reforms did not come by chance; they crown women’s multiple efforts to contribute to the building of the country through their educational and professional achievements. They also crown the whole country’s gradual process towards reducing gender equality, Democracy, and the rule of law.
Tunisian Women, being involved in the same activities as men, provide a good example of women's rights, liberation, development and success. However, much work remains to be done for the consolidation of women’s rights. In fact, although the developmental process of gender equality in Tunisia is under way, the hardships facing Tunisian economy are making the rise of women more difficult. There are certainly more job opportunities, more equality between women themselves, more measures for the benefit of rural women to be provided by the home government.