I am 60 years old. I was conceived, then born, and then became law in Tunisia in 1956. Over the years, I have watched myself grow thanks to the efforts of many women, and men, who have endlessly fought and continue to fight for me, ensuring that I remain strong despite religious and cultural challenges. I have been criticized, but also greatly admired on national and international levels. In post-revolution Tunisia, many have tried in the name of religion and culture to take away my strongest “articles” that prevent polygamy and enhance women’s freedom to make decisions for their own lives. The list of the attempts to weaken me, and even kill me, goes on and on. BUT I am still here and will endure because Tunisia wouldn’t be “who” it is today if it were not for me supporting and protecting the 51% of individuals that make up Tunisian society: My army of women. Who am I?  I am the Tunisian Code of Personal Status.

Shortly following the country’s independence in 1956, Tunisia’s founder created the Code of Personal Status to expand women’s rights, including consent to marriage. The following year, women won the right to vote, and in 1959, women were awarded the right to seek office. Over the last 60 years, the Code of Personal Status has evolved, increasing women’s rights and independence in Tunisia and continues to safeguard a level of equality for women that is not matched elsewhere in the Arab world.  In 2014, after many months of hard work and sustained advocacy, the rights won by Tunisian women over more than half a century were safely enshrined in the country’s new constitution. Each year on August 13th, Tunisians gather to celebrate what they have achieved for women’s rights, while recognizing and continuing to fight the many challenges that still exist against gender equality.

WES confronts these challenges by empowering aspiring and established women entrepreneurs with the skills, networks, and support to develop as leaders in their communities. Learn how several WES Centers are celebrating August 13th throughout the country, providing opportunities for women to network, celebrate, and grow as women entrepreneurs and active citizens.

• Sousse:

WES entrepreneurs are gathering for a World Café Impact activity to learn more  about their rights as women, gain leadership skills, and hear best practices from four WES Business Award winners;

• Kef:

The WES Center in Kef is showing a film highlighting the challenges young women face in the region and is also hosting a fair and reception displaying WES entrepreneur products;

• Kairouan:

WES entrepreneurs in Sebikha are networking and sharing best practices while presenting products at an expo hosted by the local WES Center; and

• Sfax:

The WES Center at ACG is announcing winners of an essay contest regarding women’s experiences as entrepreneurs.

Join in the festivities by visiting a WES Center or following live updates on Facebook.