News Article

Our work to empower women in Tunisian politics


The position of women in Tunisia is largely credited for being among the most advanced and liberated in the West Asia and North Africa region. Despite many decades of gains however, women are still largely excluded from positions of power and decision-making both within their political parties and the government.

In order to support women’s continued work for equal representation, International IDEA in partnership with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), are supporting the four-year Respect for Women’s Political Rights project. The overall aims of the project are to identify barriers to women’s participation and develop strategies to overcome them.

One such strategy is to ensure that women have the capacity and knowledge needed to confidently contribute to the political process. This issue will be addressed in the project’s Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop series. Launched in Tunis on 30 January, the training sessions consists of five modules and will bring together 25 women from nine political parties. The training sessions will not only give these women politicians a platform to further enhance and sustain their capacities, but will also empower them to train other women within their political parties on the knowledge and skills they have gained.

The five modules will cover a range of topics including strategic planning, campaign organization, media relations and public speaking, and negotiation and mediation skills. While training skills will be developed throughout the modules, a separate module will also coach the participants on ways to best transfer their knowledge to other members of their parties.

The first training will be held from 24-28 March in Tunis and address the issues of media relations, communications and public speaking. This topic was previously identified by the participants as one of the key capacities needed to strengthen women’s confidence in the political arena.

The participants will work with an international communications expert to practice public speaking and learn how to develop clear messages. They learn how to manage their public image and develop a better understanding of various interview techniques used when speaking with the media. On the last day of the training, an individual coaching session will be provided to each of the participants in order to further improve their skills in dealing with the media.

The next training session, on negotiation and mediation skills, set for 15-16 April, will continue to develop these skills and focus on how women can position themselves in the tough debates that will inevitably continue in Tunisia’s near future.

By the end of the ToT programme, political parties will be preparing for Tunisia’s first local level elections to be held after the revolution. In order to help support the continued transfer of knowledge, International IDEA will assist the participants of the ToTs in the first workshop they will conduct with women candidates for these elections.