Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/23 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 05/23 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/23 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 05/23 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/23 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 05/23 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/23 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 05/23 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/23 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/23 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 05/20 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/22 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 05/20 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 05/22 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/22 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 05/22 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 05/20 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 05/22 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 05/20 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 05/22 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 05/20 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
Afp

Tunisian women hit campaign trail as equals to men

By AFP
media Ines Boussetta, who heads the list of the Nidaa Tounes party for municipal elections in Tebourba, campaigns in the town some 35 kilometres west of the capital on April 20, 2018 AFP

Tunisian women "have the chance to act", says Ines Boussetta, as she hits the campaign trail in northern Tebourba, listening attentively to the problems of the rural region's inhabitants.

Boussetta is one of hundreds of Tunisian women heading party lists in May 6 municipal polls -- and for the first time, women will be on an equal footing with men, thanks to a new electoral law.

"I have faced many criticisms and commentaries, like 'you are too young,' 'you don't have political experience,' 'how can a woman lead a council?'" Boussetta, a candidate for the ruling Nida Tounes party, tells AFP.

But "women today have the chance to act, to have an opinion that counts," she added.

Around 100 party lists have been rejected for failing to meet a strict requirement for the candidacy of men and women to alternate in the municipal polls, the first since mass protests forced dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power in 2011.

Boussetta says she was attracted by Nida Tounes because its founder, Tunisia's 91-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi, has sought to promote the role of women and young people.

The head of state's 2014 election triumph was "thanks to women", says the former health volunteer.

- 'New political generation' -

The North African country's 2014 constitution has been praised as a key milestone, paving the way for greater equality.

A law on violence against women, passed last year, came into force in January.

"A new political generation is in the process of appearing," says Torkia Chebbi, vice-president of the League of Tunisian voters, a group set up in 2011 to promote female participation in political life.

Fifty-two percent of Tunisia's 5.3 million voters are under the age of 35.

Women now sit at the top of more than a quarter of the 2,074 party lists.

Many of the female candidates first dipped their toes into politics with the fall of Ben Ali through their work in civil society, Chebbi tells AFP.

But "without the law on parity, we would never have achieved such a figure, because attitudes continue to favour men," says Chebbi.

The key parties, Nida Tounes and its junior coalition partner the Islamist Ennahda party, were found to have fulfilled the new gender requirement.

- 'Women don't have experience' -

For Boussetta, who moves onto her next campaign stop in a modest black car, her experience working in the health sector makes improving infrastructure a big priority.

Many have placed their confidence in her "because she is young and sensitive to the needs of the region", she says.

Boussetta's family have a long history in Tebourba, where fresh street protests erupted in January this year against the high cost of living, unemployment and corruption.

And there is a yearning for change at the local level.

With the fall of Ben Ali seven years ago, municipalities collapsed.

While replaced by temporary councils, these are widely perceived as having failed to respond to communities' needs.

There is hope that the upcoming elections could help improve daily life in the country, cleaning up public spaces, attracting new investment, and helping to develop marginalised regions.

"Tunisian women don't have experience," acknowledges Simone Susskind, a Belgian gender politics specialist who recently ran a workshop on female leadership.

"But they have to start somewhere."

 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.