On 23 September the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity organized in Tunis, Tunisia a panel discussion with political representatives and civil society actors on gender equality. The workshop was part of the conference organized by the Global Progressive Forum and S&D parliamentary group on finding a platform for dialogue for progressive forces in Tunisian politics.
CEE Gender Network chair Dasa Silovic moderated the panel about this, especially for Tunisia, highly relevant topic. A total of six panelists discussed how gender equality could be achieved in Tunisian politics. S&D MEP Elena Valenciano, vice-president and responsible for foreign affairs, development and commerce, opened the panel discussion by stating that women are positioned in a triangle of democracy, power and freedom. Putting women into power, leads to equality and also to freedom. She further highlighted there should be a cultural shift, moving away from the patriarchy. Political participation of women can be a powerful tool to accomplish this.
Arabya Kousri of Ettakatol’s women’s organization spoke about what already has been achieved in Tunisia, referring to the progressive constitution of 2011. By which the state guarantees through quota the election of women in legislative bodies. She stressed the importance of legislation about equality in the workplace. Her colleague of Ettakatol, Hend Meghaiet of Jeunes et Démocrates, focused on the mindset of society and argued that the generational shift will make progressive forces stronger. She also praised the role of civil society organization in effectively lobbying the above mentioned quota.
Jinan Limam, jurist and lawyer linked to the Tunis university faculty of law and politics and engaged in legislative change stated it is important to work on fully implementing the constitution, which is where the real challenge lies. Drafting (progressive) laws is easy, though follow these up with appropriate public policies and how to implement these is difficult. She argued not enough resources are invested and a timely evaluations are lacking. Sodfa Daaji, president of Africa Youth Movement, pushed for more investment into education as a big part of the solution.
Enrique Guerrero, co-president of the Global Progressive Forum, concluded the panel discussion by saying that the GPF will continue to support Tunisian women in their battle for more equality.