A new study of women's experiences in Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly (NCA) shows that they take pride in the contributions they made during the drafting of the country's constitution and its democratic transition, but that they continue to struggle with negative stereotypes that have limited their impact in the NCA.
The assessment was conducted from July through December 2013. Through questionnaires and interviews with both female and male Assembly members and parliamentary staff, the assessment collected perspectives on the opportunities and challenges women have faced in Tunisia’s first democratically elected legislature. The study was funded by the U.S. Department of State's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) as part of a broader political party and governance assistance program led by NDI in Tunisia.
The responses indicate that the struggle with negative cultural attitudes about women’s roles extends to the NCA floor, as well as to institutional shortcomings in the Assembly that have impacted their ability to fulfill effectively their legislative and constituent responsibilities. Some women also reference difficulties influencing party policy and setting the legislative agenda.
Based on the assessment, NDI issued recommendations—focused on the areas of parliamentary operations, networking and outreach, and party leadership engagement—to strengthen opportunities for women in a future parliament, for which elections are expected by the end of 2014. NDI is sharing findings and recommendations with NCA members and administration.