Wherever it comes to women’s rights and freedom in the MENA Region, Tunisia has always been a pioneer. Tunisian woman, having all the rights that the famous “Code of Personal Status” ensure, are more advantageous than women in other Arab-Muslim countries even other countries in the world,
However, in our post-revolution society’s excitement, doubt, and struggling appeared between the idealistic image that the media spreads about the Status of Women in Tunisia and the accurately reflect reality. Tunisian women’s movement, facing a threaten to lose their granted rights and privilege over the new post-revolution regime and situation, was divided between a satisfying side with the current rights and a determined side that want to achieve more. Along with the events happening, ALWANE Tunisia played a significant role in gathering all the organizations and leaders involved in the women’s movement to create a common vision and actively promote positive change in society.
We have advocated for the application of laws and protecting women’s rights through conferences, protesting, raising awareness, … provided personal development training for women, implemented social entrepreneurship projects to help them assure their independence financially, … To increase women’s participation in the political life, we launched a new project empowering independent women in leadership skills, and local governance to be able to assure solution and an effective collaboration not only as dolls.
Yet, the centuries of the history of Tunisia as a pioneer for women’s rights in the region didn’t make our fight easy, and we found ourselves proclaiming and dealing with issues we took for granted for so long. So, we definitely understand better than anyone the path other Arabic-Muslim countries are facing.
We are aware of how important it is to work in a collaborative team, exchanging our experiences and advocating as a mass together.
A regional level can create these great opportunities. That‘s why it’s leverage. We can’t let it fall,
We are bounded by the determination to push for a serious social change, and that’s a civilization heritage, hard to break its Customs and traditions.
It reminds me of a story where a father and his daughter are looking at the window while snowing. The girl asked her father, “can the snow break those branches?”, he answered, “ no, it’s insignificant, weighs almost nothing “… the girl sat there counting the snowflakes as they fell on the branches. She got far counting, and then when the very next snowflake fell and settled on the branch—the branch dropped right down to the ground, and all the snow slid off it.
So you see, just that one last snowflake weighed enough to make the branch sink down and the entire snow slide off.
The power of a snowflake is that every snowfall had to be there to make that impact.
And that’s what we aim for ALWANE’s network; the idea of ALWANE begins on the region itself, it’s on regional collaboration, and it’s on sort of movement towards pushing for the praise of women.
You can find national organizations and regional too, working the same agenda in all countries simultaneously or changing the theme each year or semester. This is killing the diversity of the region and specificity of every country. It is like evaluating a monkey for not swimming and a fish for climbing a tree.
Another aspect is quite important too: ALWANE has been launched because the region is at that important time,
We are at the right time; it’s now or never, the region is ready; all the Arab spring movement, the consequences, and changes due to, made people believe they need it and can make it. We have to keep this light before it fades and becomes endless hope by taking to action,
It’s about man and women to advance gender equality and advance women’s participation in every sector of society; we have seen incredible success stories in just one year,
We are working hard to secure the partners we need to continue ALWANE for many years to come, communities had shown great determination, perseverance, and creativity to continue their mission this year at a national level, and I do salute them for that, all the country officers and their communities for the awesome work; but we are aware that a regional level is great leverage we can’t let it fall,
I am very humbled to be there tonight among such extraordinary people, all my gratefulness to my family for the support and guidance, especially my father, a man who considered himself blessed to have only daughters and who taught me not to accept less than what I deserve.