Tunis: The Urban Space, Space for Legitimate Presence or a Simple Place of Passage for Women?
By: Sabrina Chikhaoui
About the author: holding a master degree in Political Science, specialized in Mediterranean and Middle-East region, I focus my work on women’s rights in Arab and muslim countries. I have worked for local and international organizations in Tunisia, working on women empowerment and gender mainstreaming, particularly in local governance, to ensure women’s participation to local affairs and their presence in local decision-making positions. I feel also strongly committed to gender equality in public spaces issues. I wrote a thesis on « Women and urban spaces in Tunisia » which this article is excerpted.
Tunis is nowadays a Mediterranean metropolis. The urbanization, as it occurred in Tunisia and particularly in Tunis, and the change of women status are linked; the impact of urbanization on women access to work and education gave them a higher visibility in the urban public space and has legitimized their access to it. Therefore, this study will favour a transverse axis of analysis: the transition of women from private domestic area to all forms of the « public » urban space. It aims at understanding the relation(s) between women, from different social and economic categories, and the urban space, to analyze how they make use of it. What are the places which are frequented by women and for what reasons ? Are there favorite places of exit ? What are the obstacles they encounter ?.The answers to these questions emerged through a field survey carried out in June and July 2016, through women ways of occupying and practising space observations and interviews.