Women’s Rights in Tunisia and the Democratic Renegotiation of an Authoritarian Legacy

Maaike Voorhoeve

Abstract: Since the 2011 revolution, Tunisia has been negotiating what it is to become, a process of rebirth in which women’s rights is key. The ongoing debates reflect a confrontation between the feminist policies of Habib Bourguiba (the first president of the Tunisian republic) and alternative notions of women’s rights. In this article, I examine the debates that are currently taking place in Tunisia. I argue that the topic of women’s rights is crucial in the power struggle between the political elites within Tunisia. It is symbolic of the much wider battle over the future of the country. Moreover, the legislative outcomes of the debates are indicative for the post-revolutionary political dynamics, showing the strength of so-called secularists.

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