Wording on women sparks protest in Tunisia

When Tunisia’s National Constitutional Assembly published the new draft constitution, a storm broke out over its words about women.

It read: “The State guaranties the protection of women rights and the promotion of their gains, as a real partner of men in the mission of the homeland building, and the roles of both should complement each other within the household … The State guaranties the extermination of all kinds of violence against women.”

Thousands of Tunisians were not impressed.

“Oh woman, rebel – guarantee your rights in the constitution,” chanted supporters of gender equality as they marched on August 13 from the 14 January Square to the Conference Palace in the capital of Tunis, defying government orders to cancel the protest.

Estimates placed the number of protesters between 5,000 and 30,000.

“Equality all the way – no complementarity in the constitution,” they shouted. Sister marches were held across Tunisia, in celebration of National Women’s Day.

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