SIWA members were privileged to learn more about a country pioneering women’s rights in the Arab world, at a special presentation hosted by the spouse of the Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia, Malika Khadri El Abed.

Tunisia’s culture is highly diverse, partly because of long periods of Ottoman and French rule, but also because Jewish and Christian populations have lived among the Muslim majority for centuries.

Ms El Abed explained how civil society in Tunisia is now focused on the participation of women and on education. The Tunisian Government recognizes that educating and empowering females helps bolster the economy while enhancing harmony within the

In 2016, the Republic passed a “vertical gender parity bill”, in order to increase female representation in Parliament. The new law makes it mandatory for all parties or blocks to put forward an equal number of male and female candidates. Tunisian women now currently hold 31 per cent of the nation’s seats – a remarkable achievement.

A snapshot of the Tunisian Republic’s tourist attractions included the magnificent capital Tunis, with its blend of ancient Arab souks and mosques, the ancient city of Carthage, dreamy coastal resorts dotted along the Mediterranean and the flora and fauna of the desert wilderness.

The presentation ended with a traditional, delicious, Tunisian feast of slowly simmered lamb stew, couscous, salads and sweets all washed down with refreshing lemon mint tea. SIWA would like to extend our thanks to host, Malika Khadhri El Abed for her warm hospitality. Many of us now have Tunisia on our bucket lists!

Written by SIWA member Vanessa Crago