Tunisian women have been actively occupying state positions, but this doesn’t reflect their participation in political life in the country as they hardly partake in leadership positions whether in the government or in political parties or even at the parliament despite the fact that they have been very important in influencing elections’ results.
Two women among 26 candidates for president of Tunisia have bee eligible for running for this most prestigious position: Salma Al-Wafi and Abeer Mousa. They are competing against 24 men amid questions whether Tunisia is ready to be run by a woman president or not.
Meanwhile, the lack of political will has been hindering Tunisian women from making it to decision-making positions, especially as they are unable to head the electoral horizontal lists, thus allowing women to take part with a little percentage of 14% against 86% for men in the last elections.
Islamist political parties, represented by Ennahdha Party, has used “the women card” by pushing forward women who don’t wear hijabs and backward those who do. By this, Ennahdha Party tried to present itself as a civilian political party that believes in women’s rights. To that end, it made Souad Abdelrahim who doesn’t wear hijab a candidate for Tunis Mayor.
The Head of Ennahdha Party Rached Ghannouchi tried to make a young woman who doesn’t wear hijab run in the legislative elections, but she withdrew citing open-mindedness on the outside and on the inside of the Islmist political party.
Every time elections are due, parties and candidates arm themselves with delicate slogans calling for women’s rights but never get those slogans materialized on the ground so that women return to their back seats and disappear from decision-making circles.