As post-revolutionary Tunisia continues down the painstaking path of drafting its constitution, the Women’s Organization, recently established by the Workers’ Party, is striving to assure that women’s rights are given due attention in the drafting process.
In adherence to the Marxist saying that “social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex,” the Workers’ Party organized on Saturday, December 29, a two-day conference to inaugurate the Women’s Organization.
The conference was held under the slogan “Free Women, Free Society” and attended by the leader of the Workers’ Party Hamma Hammami, party cabinet members Rafiqa Rkik and Latifa Kouki, lawyer Radhia Nasraoui, and other civil society activists. For the attendees, the event occurred at a crucial time in Tunisia.
Hammami asserted that Tunisian men and women had concrete revolutionary demands that ought to serve as a guide for the ongoing democratic transition. Tunisians did not revolt for polygamy, female genital mutilation, or under-age marriage, but for dignity and equality, he said.
The organization’s members expressed their fear that the rights of women are slipping away since the ratio of their representation in media, politics, and high-level decision-making has decreased since the revolution.
Hammami claimed that there is no single article in the draft constitution that addresses women’s rights, and that attempts to undermine such rights have begun since the ruling Ennahdha party reached power. From the rejected draft law labeling Tunisian women as “complementary to men” to instances of gender-based aggression and rape, the status of women in Tunisian society is being questioned. Hammami explained that the equation of gender equality with promiscuity is rhetoric alien to Tunisia’s Muslim history, since the first rights granted to Tunisian women were issued by Taher Haddad, an Islamic scholar.
The newly founded Women Organization strives to be “the voice of every Tunisian woman,” Rkik asserted during Saturday’s conference.