Tunisia

Gender Gap Index


Gender Gap Index 2014

Overall

Economic Participation

Political Empowerment

Educational Attainment

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

123

0.627

130

0.463

82

0.131

107

0.951

 (Rank: out of 142 countries) (Score: 0.00 = inequality, 1.00 = equality)

Legislation[2]

Family Code/ Personal Status Law

  • As early as 1956, the government had amended the former family code, banning polygamy and repudiation, promoting consensual marriage and introducing equal divorce proceedings.
  • Further amendments to the personal status code, labour code, and criminal code further strengthened women’s rights in Tunisia.
  • Tunisian laws are largely based on the French Code. The Tunisian personal status code underwent significant amendments in 1956 and 1993, and as a result Shari’ah courts were abolished and many discriminatory clauses were removed. The country has a single unified court system and personal status code.

Marriage

  • In 2007, the personal status code was again amended to set the minimum legal age of marriage for men and women at 18, with provisions for exceptions with consent of the guardians and special authorization from a judge
  • The previous stipulation that wives are to obey their husbands was removed in 1993 and parental authority is to be shared between women and men. However, Article 23 grants the status of “head of the household” to the husband

Divorce

  • Repudiation is illegal, and women and men have the same divorce rights in Tunisia, meaning that a divorce can be granted at the request of either spouse.
  • In the event of divorce, custody is granted according to the best interests of the child, although the father remains a guardian. Reforms in 1993 amended the law to increase guardianship rights of custodial mothers

Resources and Assets

  • Women in Tunisia have equal ownership rights to property and are free to own and manage land independently.
  • The default marital property regime is separation of property and the original owner has the legal right to administer their property during marriage
  • In practice, few women own land, and most non-land assets – whether owned or rented – is registered in the husband or father’s name.
  • Legally, women have equal access to financial services and may open a bank account in the same way as a man, have equal access to bank loans, and can enter into business and financial contracts independently.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture has a specific unit in place to provide rural women with targeted advice and support, and women are also able to access micro credit facilities.
  • Family law reform has not, however, addressed inheritance law, which continues to be governed by Shari’ah law, where women may inherit, but a smaller share than male relatives
  • Contrary to Shari’ah law, however, Tunisian law states that if a father has no sons, the inheritance passes to his daughter(s) rather than to his own family

Employment

  • Under the labour code, women and men have the same right to work, and discrimination on the basis of gender is banned in regard to employment and pay.
  • Following the amendments made to the labour code in 1993, a married woman no longer needs permission from her husband in order to be able to work.
  • However, women are still prohibited from working at night, apart from certain circumstances.
  • Pregnant women in Tunisia are entitled to 30 days’ paid maternity leave in the private sector, financed by the government, while they are entitled to 60 days paid maternity leave, in the public sector.

Additional

  • Following amendments to the penal code made in 1993, domestic violence is also a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment for up to 2 years
  • Rape is illegal under the Tunisian penal code, including spousal rape (Arts 227 and 227)
  • The Penal Code (Art 226) was amended in 2004 to include sexual harassment as a criminal offence, carrying a penalty of one year in prison and fines.

Political Participation

Women’s Political Participation

Year

Total

Source

Number of women in parliament (single/lower house)

2015

68/217

IPU database
http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/parlinesearch.asp

% of women in parliament

2015

31.34%

Legislated quotas for women for single/ lower house (yes/no)

2014

YES

The Quota Project database
http://www.quotaproject.org/en/index.cfm

Constitution [3]

  • In January 2014z, Tunisia’s parliament officially adopted a new constitution, the new charter now recognises equality between men and women for the first time.
  • Article 21 of the constitution reads, "All male and female citizens have the same rights and duties. They are equal before the law without discrimination." 
  • Article 34 of the new Constitution provides that “the rights to election, voting and candidacy are guaranteed in accordance with the law. The State seeks to guarantee women’s representation in elected councils.”
  • Article 46 of the 2014 Constitution guarantees “equality of opportunities between women and men to have access to all levels of responsibility and in all fields. The state seeks to achieve equal representation for women and men in elected councils”
  • In the following period, the Assembly deliberated on the new electoral law, and in early May 2014 adopted the new electoral law, providing for parity and alternation between women and men on parties’ candidate lists, though fell short of requiring that parties designate equal number of women and men as the leading candidates on the lists

Quota [4]

  • In 2011, legislated candidate quotas were introduced in Article 16 of Decree 35, by which ‘candidates shall file their candidacy applications on the basis of parity between men and women.’
  • Despite the newly introduced legislation for parity and alternation provisions in candidate lists, results did not see an equal representation of women in the National Constituent Assembly, or in the recent elections for the Assembly of Representatives.
  • In addition, there are no quotas at sub-national level

Representation [5]

  • During the 2014 elections, women won a total of 68/216 (31.34%) of seats
  • Women constituted roughly 47% of the candidates

Media [6]

CEDAW and reservations[7]

  • Tunisia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1985, with reservations to the following articles (9:2, 15:4, 16, and 29:1). All specific reservations were removed in 2011.
  • The Optional Protocol was ratified in 2008

Economic Empowerment[8]

Women’s Economic Participation

Year

Total

Source

Labour Force Participation

Ratio of female to male labour force participation

2014

0.36

World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014

Labour force participation, female (% of total labour force)

2013

28%

World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank

Labour force participation, female (% of female population 15-64)

2012

27.2%

Labour force participation, male (% of male population 15-64)

2012

75.2%

Youth Employment

Ratio of female to male youth unemployment rate (% aged 15-24)

2012

90.1%

World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank

Unemployment

Unemployment, female (% of female labour force)

2014

27.4%

World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014

Unemployment, male (% of male labour force)

2014

15%

Unemployment, total (% of total labour force)

2011

18.3%

World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank

Sectors of Work

Women employed in non-agricultural sector (% of total non-agricultural employment)

2014

25%

World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014

Vulnerable employment (% of male employment)

2010

31.4%

 

Employers, female (% of employment)

2010

3.1%

Employers, male (% of employment)

2010

17.6%

Employment

  • Overall, women’s participation in the labour force remains low (25% compared to 71% for men), and women’s wages are consistently lower than men’s at all levels (OECD Gender Index 2014).
  • The female economic activity rate was 25.8% against 70.3% for men in 2012.
  • Unemployment is more severe among women (22.5% in the third quarter of 2013) than men (13.1%), and affects twice the women graduated in tertiary education (43.5%) than male graduated (23.1 %).[9]

[1] World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014: http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2014
[2] All information on legislation has been sourced from the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index, 2014: http://genderindex.org/countries. Unless stated otherwise.
[3] http://genderindex.org/countries
[4] http://www.quotaproject.org/en/index.cfm
[5] http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/parlinesearch.asp
[6] http://genderindex.org/countries
[7] https://cedaw.wordpress.com/2007/04/10/algeria-declarations-reservations-and-objections-to-cedaw/
[8] All information on economic empowerment has been sourced from the World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank: http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/gender-statistics. Unless stated otherwise.
[9] http://genderindex.org/countries