News / Africa

Women Fight for Equal Role on Tunisia's Future Path

Tunisian Women Fight for Equal Rolei
X
February 21, 2013 1:28 AM
As the political crisis in Tunisia deepens, opposition groups are continuing to demand new elections. As in the revolution two years ago, women are at the vanguard of activists demanding change. Henry Ridgwell reports from Tunis.
Tunisian Women Fight for Equal Role
Henry Ridgwell
As the political crisis in Tunisia deepens, opposition groups are continuing to demand fresh elections. As in the revolution two years ago, women are at the vanguard of the activists demanding change.

In a cold gymnasium adorned with Tunisian flags, the national wrestling team trains for its next tournament.  Here, men train alongside women, youth alongside adults.

Marwa Meziane is women's African champion at 48 kilograms, and competed at the London 2012 Olympics.

She says training with the men adds a lot, it is more challenging and more fun.

Tunisia won its first women's medal at the 2012 Olympics.  But conservative Muslims objected to the attire worn by 3,000-meter steeplechase silver-medalist Habiba Ghribi.

In Tunisia, women's sport has found itself drawn into the debate on the future role of women in society.

A draft of the new constitution written last year described women as 'complementary to a man.'  That produced a storm of criticism from women's rights groups, and the clause was dropped.

Activist Ahlem Belhaj is from the Association of Democratic Women.

Belhaj says it's true there have been achievements in certain areas like equal representation, or in the drafting of the constitution, but there have been steps backwards at the level of society, and the fight continues.

The constitution is still being debated in the National Assembly.  Meherzia Labidi is the assembly's vice president and a member of the ruling Ennahda party.  She says the draft text describing the role of women was mistranslated.

"Now we are moving towards an article about women's rights that is more precise, that is clearer, so having more legal impact. And what is important in this article is that it mentions that the state shall commit itself to guarantee women's rights, "Labidi.

At a recent pro-Ennahda rally, this woman explained why she supports the Islamist party.

She says she stands for women who have children, for women who respect their husbands, who respect their work, who respect their lives.

A differing view comes from Emna Menif, president of the social activist group Kolna Tounes. She says Ennahda's influence on the government is putting women's rights at risk.

Menif says political Islamists reject all opposing ideas, and that women in particular are a target for those who are working to spread the doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood.   She says women are even more marginalized and are more at risk than the rest of the population.

Back at the gymnasium, the wrestling team continues its daily regime.  Hedia Trabelsi is a World Championships bronze medalist at 51kilograms.

She says women have a distinguished place in Tunisian society. They work hard to achieve and to give more back to society.

The women and the men in the national team say they try to ignore the politics and focus on one thing: honoring the Tunisian flag.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid