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Assessing the constitution-building process from a gender perspective in Tunisia

PUBLISHED:
03/03/2014
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‘Tunisians agree that their new constitution is an advance, despite the imperfections. The people’s new democratic spirit is what will make Tunisia a success, and it will hopefully serve as an inspiration for the entire Arab region in times to come’.

In their recent analysis, International IDEA's Donia Ben Romdhane and Zaid Al-Ali look at the progress and challenges to come in Tunisia’s new constitution (read full article, first published by openDemocracy).

They also discuss the gender dimension of the new constitution:

‘The issue of gender equality was also highly charged from the start of the drafting process; the fault lines were predictable, with Islamists wanting to see their conservative view of traditional family life generalized throughout state and society, and more secular and liberal Tunisians wanting either to protect whatever rights had been acquired under the previous regime or take them even further’.

workshops

International IDEA is planning to implement a series of expert workshops to assess the constitution-building process in Tunisia from a gender perspective.

The first expert workshop was held on 28 February 2014. The workshop aimed to evaluate the inclusiveness of the constitution building process in the country, as well as the contribution of Tunisian women (elected at the National Constituent Assembly – NCA - and women NGOs, women experts) in the constitution drafting process.

A series of questions were developed by IDEA together with the experts covering topics such as:

  1. The baseline of the constitution building process (to which extend women were involved in the design of the CBP),
  2. The NCA composition (how many women, their roles, positions), rules of procedure (was it gender sensitive? Attendance?),
  3. The constituent drafting process (the role of the women at the NCA and role of the CSOs and experts),
  4. Public consultation/public participation (how did women/women NGO participate? What were their comments on each draft? Were these comments taken into consideration? The role of elected women at the NCA in this current phase)

This seminar was attended by 10 women experts from the Tunisian association of constitutional law, The Judge Union, the league of Tunisian women voters, the secretariat of the NCA, the Tunisian league of Human Rights.

The hope is, by the end of these workshops and the following reports, there will be a comprehensive analysis of the constitution building process from a gender perspective in Tunisia.