Women from all walks of life, age groups and regions of Tunisia took to the streets in the December 2010
–January 2011 uprising that led to the ousting of former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, 2011. Women also
participated in large numbers in the October 2011 National Constituent Assembly (NCA) elections as candidates and campaigners, encouraged by the country’s new electoral law requiring
gender parity on political party candidate lists.
Since the revolution, women have also played active roles in civil society and in political parties in the hope of
contributing to the emerging political transition. Yet Tunisian women increasingly voice concerns that
conventional gender relations and stereotypes are reemerging despite the solidarity among women
and men during the revolution.
The gender parity for the NCA elections, for example, did not guarantee equal representation of elected women because most political parties did not nominate women as heads of candidate lists. As a result, 24
percent ofNCA seats are held by women members.
During previous focus group research conducted by NDI, Tunisian women spoke about their struggles
to participate in political life. Women expressed the belief that politicians make decisions on their behalf
without consultation, as well as concerns over the commitment of NCA members to preserve women’s rights.
To further NDI’s assistance to Tunisian partners in civil society and parties support women’s political participation and contribute to providing public input into the transition process, NDI piloted a national, qualitative study on Tunisians’ perceptions toward women in public life from February 17 to 28, 2012. The study was carried out concurrent with the opening of discussions within the NCA on the country’s