Tunisia's Equal Futures Partnership Commitments

Legislation on gender equality

  • January 2015 Tunisia signed The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol,
  • Organic Law No 2015-460 of 23 November 2015 amending and supplementing Law No. 75-40 of 14 May 1975 on passports and travel documents (Tunisia’s parliament adopted a new law on November 10, 2015, that will allow women to travel with their minor children without getting permission from the children’s father ).
  • On April 23, 2014, Tunisia officially lifted key reservations on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ratified in 1985.

Tunisia's Constitution, Adopted on January 27, 2014, Includes Strong Protections for Women's Rights

  • The preamble of the constitution “equality of rights and duties between all citizens, male and female”
  • Article 21 confirms equality of rights and duties and prohibits gender discrimination: “All citizens, male and female, have equal rights and duties, and are equal before the law without any discrimination.”
  • “Article 34 guarantees women’s representation in all elected bodies”. It makes Tunisia one of the few countries in the Middle East and North Africa region with a constitutional obligation to work toward gender parity in elected assemblies.
  • Article 46 ensure a protection of human rights:
  • The state commits to protect women’s accrued rights and work to strengthen and develop those rights
  • The state guarantees the equality of opportunities between women and men to have access to all levels of responsibility in all domains.
  • The state works to attain parity between women and men in elected Assemblies.
  • The state shall take all necessary measures in order to eradicate violence against women
  • A multisectoral Committee to review and revise all discriminatory legislation.

Tunisia had ratified almost all international conventions on women's rights. The equality provisions as well as the other rights and freedoms outlined in the Constitution will need to be entrenched in organic and ordinary laws that implement the constitutional framework.

The Tunisian authorities should next also ensure that all domestic laws conform to international standards and eliminate other forms of discrimination against women. A multisectoral Committee was set up for this purpose in order to review and revise all discriminatory legislation.

The Committee submitted its report in February 2016.

"Gender Profile of Tunisia"

The European Union has published “Tunisia’s Gender profile”. Started in January and finalised in July 2014, the profile presents data updated to June 2014.

The document, has been prepared in the framework of the cooperation between the EU and the Tunisian government, and aims to identify and analyze gender issues, in view of promoting a new gender equality programme.

It presents an exhaustive analysis of the socio-economic and political situation of women and men in Tunisia, as well as a diagnosis of the legal and judicial framework on equality, the institutional mechanisms, the main public policies and the interventions of the international community in support of gender equality in Tunisia.

The integration of Tunisian women in governance policies and development processes has been analyzed, highlighting the obstacles that prevent women from exercising their rights.

Gender equality promotion program in Tunisia (EU-Tunisia) 2015-2018

The financing agreement of this programme was signed in April aims to contribute to the achieving gender equality in Tunisia by reducing inequalities at national, regional and local levels . The specific objectives of this program are to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of the ministry and its governmental  and nongovernmental  partners in the integration of the gender approach.
  • Improve the participation of women in economic and public life.
  • Contribute to reduce discrimination and gender-based violence.

Promotion of professional women-men equality in Tunisia, funded by the European Union

This project, launched in March 2015, is implemented by the Foundation “act against exclusion “(FACE) in collaboration with the Association of Training Managers and Human Management in Enterprises "ARFORGHE".It aims to reduce gender discrimination in the workplace. It involves tunisian associations of women's rights promotion, enterprises and public authorities. It essentially aims to raise 100 Tunisian companies on gender equality and to support more than 150 young Tunisian women in their search for employment and to promote their employability.

Launch of the National Committee of promoting gender equality in the management of local affairs (2015)

Created at the initiative of the research center of Documentation and Information on Women (CREDIF) and the  International Development Center for the Innovative Local Governance, the committee aims to generate positive momentum to equality between men and women acting as an advocacy tool to infuse political, legal and social change .

The objective is to promote the equality of women and men in the management of local affairs to strengthen the foundations of democracy, efficiency and quality of local government policies and programs and generate a balanced and sustainable development.
This is also to ensure the participation of women on an equal footing with men, at all levels and areas of decision relating to local authorities from the development of policies and programs to implementation and evaluation.

It is intended, also, to mainstream gender into policies, programs, plans, local plans and budgets to meet the needs and aspirations of both women and men, to contribute to the reduction of social inequalities based on gender and provide organizations with a space of exchange and debate to support advocacy actions in favor of gender equality

Gender mainstreaming

Tunisia ensures a strategy for gender mainstreaming in the planning, implementation and monitoring of programs and budgets through a process of institutionalization of this approach. The national gender mainstreaming plan was developed and is in the process of validation.

the National Council of Peers for Equality and Equal Opportunities between Women and Men ", designated by" The peer counseling for equality"  created in the presidency of the government (by government decree),  responsible for the integration of gender approach in planning, programming and budgeting , To eliminate all forms of discrimination between women and men and to implement equal rights and duties. (Approval of the decree by the Council of Ministers meeting March 23, 2016).

Gender sensitive budgeting

We began a process of gender sensitive budgeting. It should be noted here that the overhaul of the organic budget law has to devote an article (Article 17) stipulates in its last paragraph that program managers of Budget Management by Objectives must mainstream gender in the development of their goals and indicators. Once adopted by the Assembly of People's Representatives, the law would be the legal basis for an effective integration of gender sensitive budgeting.

Fight against early school leaving

A framework agreement on the fight against early school leaving especially young girls in rural areas was signed in 2015 by Ministry of Women, Family and Children, Ministry of  Interior, Ministry of education, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of culture and Heritage Preservation and the NGO "Al-Madaniya".This agreement aims to achieve an integrated national plan to fight against early school leaving especially for young girls in rural areas.

Develop the employability of women in rural areas

The signature of a framework agreement (4 March 2016) between the Ministry of Women, Family and Children and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries to develop the employability of women in rural areas  in order to achieve their economic and social empowerment and facilitate their participation in public life.

The National Women's Entrepreneurship Program (2016-2020)

As part of its efforts to promote gender equality , inclusion and promoting Women's Entrepreneurship to help women create, manage and grow their own small and medium enterprises (SMEs),the Ministry of Women, Family and Children launched  an action plan for Women's entrepreneurship (2016-2020) .it consists in creating an enabling environment for women  to set up Small and medium-sized enterprises(or small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)   for graduate women from universities and institutes of higher education and Very small businesses to non graduate women. the development plan (2016-2020) aims to  increase the participation of women to the labor market from 28.5% in 2014 to 35% in 2020.

The project is intended to create between 3,000 and 4,500 new jobs by 2020 with an appropriate support of women entrepreneurs over the next 5 years.

This action plan provided dedicated credit lines for women entrepreneurs, offered them tailored advice, training to increase their know-how and networking opportunities. It aimed also at promoting the spirit of enterprise or entrepreneurial culture, improving market-access capacities, providing adequate and appropriate support services covering 6 axes namely:

  • Creation of a conducive institutional and legal framework,
  • Improving human capital and encouraging the use of new technologies,
  • Improving access to finance,
  • Establishment of appropriate support services,
  • Facilitating market access and value chain development,
  • The dissemination and promotion of entrepreneurial culture.

National program of awareness and protection of children and families from terrorism

The Tunisian, by nature, peaceful, tolerant and moderate, has been surprised at the rise of terrorism in his country. Studies have shown that our children and women were the ideal prey for brainwashing. The causes of vulnerability are mainly poverty, idleness, isolation, the feeling of being on the margin of life with no hope for a better life.

The program that the ministry of women, family and childhood  is working on to sensitize and protect children and families against terrorism is based on a humanitarian approach to reinforce the self esteem,  the self confidence and restore hope by means of coaching, activities, culture and assistance.

We worked on three concepts:

  • Invite targeted 5000 children in 2016, coming from all over Tunisia, in leisure center. The 5000 children come in groups of 100 children aged between 12 and 18 for 5 days to offer a variety of workshops, such as coaching, discovering the abilities, skills enhancement, theater, recreation and sports. Those workshops are managed by educators, psychologists and sociologists to detect vulnerable cases and follow them and their families later in their localities. The aim is to help children find their ways.
  • With the participation of civil society through associations, workshops have been set in 11 frontier side governorates to provide support and educational program for children and parents in difficulties. Coaching, culture and listening sessions. 4 programs have been set.
  • The 3rd concept is the economic empowerment of women and families in need.

The Ministry of Women , Family and Childhood  encourages women with a minimum of knowledge in agriculture, handicrafts or other skills to create their own small business in  granting them a training, assistance and a credit line up to 5000dt payable over 3 years without interests and with one year grace. The ministry will ensure the sale of production to ensure sustainability. 100 small projects in each of the 24 Tunisian governorates are planned.

Combating gender based violence 

The Ministry of Women,Family and Childhood is promoting a multi-sectoral  and holistic approach to combat  (GBV )Gender-based Violence , supporting women victims of violence , and  leads the coordination of efforts to fight against it.

the results of a national survey conducted on violence against women by the Tunisian National Office of Family and Population (ONFP), in cooperation with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) in 2010  showed that 47.6% of women aged 18-64 years reported having experienced at least one form of violence during their life times .

The National Strategy to Combat Gender-based Violence was set up in 2008. Its main purpose is to contribute to the prevention and the fight against all forms of discrimination and violence against women at all stages of their lives.
the strategy focuses on:

  • Collection and use of data.
  • Appropriate and diversified services
  • Social mobilization and community awareness to introduce  behavioral and institutional change
  • Advocacy for the review and implementation of laws to prevent and combat violence against women

For this purpose a National Network Focal Points to fight against all forms of discrimination and violence against from different public structures and organizations of civil society, was established. A national steering committee was set up, composed of representatives of associations and of institutions and of experts. all other concerned Ministries are responsible, through their respective focal points, to contribute to GBV prevention and response.

The main achievements consist in:

  • Process of preparation of an integral law on violence against women.
  • The development of specifications for the centers to protect women victims of violence.
  • The inauguration, in March 2016, of the  first public center for the protection of women victims of violence (March 2016).
  • The development of a mapping of services for women victims of violence.
  • A pilot project  about multisectoral Protection and Support Services for women victims of violence in the region of Greater Tunis  conducted  in partnership with ONFP (National Office for Family and Population) and UN Women. In this context, multisectoral protocols ministries as well as management tools have been developed for frontline ministries.
  • Raising awareness, advocacy and communication.
  • Preparing a communication plan to raise awareness, advocacy and communication for the National Strategy to Combat Gender-based Violence against violence the process of preparation of the integral law.
  • Development of a communication package (leaflets, posters, television spots, stickers, t-shirts, pins ...) which  serve as an advocacy tool during training sessions, workshops, seminars etc.
  • Presentation of the results of the Study: “Violence against women in public space in Tunisia“ (March 2016).
  • Organization of training sessions on Violence against women in public space.