The issue of women’s rights in Tunisia is a matter of emancipation that transcends regional or temporal boundaries. What, today, seems obvious to us as right was achieved only through the long struggles of women all over the world. Women have been imprisoned and killed for their rights. These rights have emerged especially in countries where economic and political conditions have allowed women to go to work. Women such as the famous Tunisian singer Latifa El Arafaoui have had doors opening up to them in this regard since the nineteenth century.
The suffering of women whose rights are denied
In some countries, women are still deprived of rights that seem basic: the right to go out of the house, ride a car, speak to a person on the road, or carry their son to the hospital. You may have heard of the tragedy that took place in an Arab country where a number of girls were burned because a fire broke out in the dormitory and they were not allowed to run away because there were no parents in the area to authorize it.
To this extent, the woman is deprived of her right to life due to stupidity and intransigence in dealing with women’s rights. Of course, we in Tunisia have overcome this reality. But our pride in our rights should not obscure the injustice that Tunisian women can endure today, and the difficulties that can be overcome. Considering this benefits women, the Tunisian family and society in general.
Famous singer, Latifa El Arfaoui’s, views on women’s rights in Tunisia
I met artist Latifa El Arfaoui, a famous Tunisian singer for an interview with the Komorebi Post. Arfaoui was gifted with amazing talent since childhood. She released her first album in 1985 entitled “You Have Doubt” and has many fans to this day. With her elegant pink dress and black hair she greeted me at the Tourist Inn in Tunis and spoke as a representative about the development and advancement of Tunisian women today.
I brought up the fact that rights for Tunisian woman has actually evolved since independence in 1956. Arfaoui is an activist. She told me that education has become compulsory for both males and females, in addition to health care and birth control, the Tunisian family is able to take care of their children. Educational development in Tunisia lead to the first train driver, pilot and first Tunisian doctor in the Arab and African world.
I asked about the gains of modern women, such as equality in inheritance, which is an Islamic custom. The answer of my guest was quick and ready. She said that today Tunisia is at the forefront of Arab countries for the rights of women and today women are competing with men at work and at home and therefore it became necessary to be equal in everything.
When asked how she obtained her success as a Tunisian singer, she said, “Work and nothing but work and then trust in myself and trust in my voice . And keep faith in God.”
I asked my guest how she saw the future of Tunisian women?
“Of course, a good future. What Tunisian women have to demand and struggle to reach the rank of European women. We are in the nearest European country and we do not mind being like them,” she said.
In 2005, Arfaoui founded a charitable foundation. It was to be the first charity organization for an Arab artist specializing in supporting the latest works in the Arab world, as well as a quarter of her work for this institution. Our artist also contributed donations to the displaced and those who are suffering from wars and natural disasters.
Women’s rights in Tunisia: The march must not stop
In Tunisia today we cannot deny that the Personal Status Code of 1957 guaranteed women many rights. It has been making their lives better than others in many countries of the world. Especially in the Arab and Islamic countries, where women are still deprived of basic rights such as: education, employment, election and equal pay , freedom of movement, choice of husband, divorce and many others. These rights guarantees dignity as a full human being.
The emancipation of women is a march for the better, and this process must not stop. I do not want here to draw up a list of the rights that Tunisian women can demand. I will stop at a point that I believe is fundamental to any progress in the reality of women. It is not only sufficient to provide women with new rights. Personal rights often remain on paper and are not applied in practice.