Tunisia: Changing Patterns of Women’s Representation
Benstead traces women’s descriptive political representation in Tunisia from the first woman elected to parliament in 1959 to the introduction of the law of parity following the Arab spring, which commits the state to ensuring equal representation in elected institutions. Under Ben Ali’s state feminism, the Constitutional Rally for Democracy (RCD) implemented a 20% party quota in 1999, which it increased to 30% in 2009. After the Arab spring, civil society advocated legislative quotas calling for vertical alternation between male and female candidates. However, when women won only 28% of seats in the 2011 and 2014 national elections, activists achieved a horizontal provision for local elections (expected in 2018) requiring that women also head half of all lists.
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