Tunisia: G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council Issues Recommendations, Praises Tunisian Gender Experience

From left, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo and French president Emmanuel Macron announce the donation of U.S.$251 million to support women entrepreneurs in Africa. Kidjo is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador who has been promoting the African Development Bank's initiative.

Tunis/Tunisia — The Group of Seven (G7) Gender Equality Advisory Council issued a series of recommendations in its report Wednesday aimed at achieving gender equality and promoting the economic empowerment of women, praising Tunisian achievements in this area.

In its report published on the official website of the Presidency of the French Republic, the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council called on the global leaders to draw on the recommendations made, including adopting and implementing progressive legislative frameworks for gender equality, ending gender-based violence, ensuring equitable right to education and health , promote women's economic empowerment, abolish any discriminatory measures against women and ensuring necessary funding for the implementation of the laws.

The G7 Council praised the rights and freedoms set out in Tunisia's new 2014 Constitution, which promotes gender equality.

It also noted the ratification by Tunisia of several relevant conventions, including those relating to the fight against violence to women, domestic violence, rape and other crimes.

The G7 report also praised Article 46 of the Tunisian Constitution, saying it goes a step further than those in many established democracies in its commitment to promote and develop women's rights, to include a "guarantee of equality of opportunity" and aims "to achieve equal representation... in elected councils."

Consistent with this commitment, women are better represented in the Tunisian Parliament, at 31 percent, than in legislative bodies in the United States, Britain, and Canada, it pointed out.

Bochra Belhaj Hmida, a member of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, told TAP the report included many successful international experiences of gender equality, similar to the Tunisian experience, particularly with regard to the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2014 constitution, adding that "this is an acknowledgment of the existence of a political will in Tunisia to defend the principle of equality".

In this context, she pointed out that the recommendations of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council "were not formulated by these developed countries, but were derived from various international experiences, both in developing and developed countries, to take advantage of the successful experiences of different countries in eliminating discrimination between men and women.

While acknowledging the existing shortcomings in women's rights in Tunisia "requiring a little more time to be overcome," Ben Hmida considered that Tunisia "is on track to reach full equality through a legal arsenal, a real guarantee of women's rights".

The Advisory Gender Equality Council in the G7 (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, England, United States, Canada) was formed in 2018 under the chairmanship of Canada.

France, which chairs the Council in 2019, is responsible for drawing up an international charter on women's rights and the fight against violence and discrimination against women, in order to present it to G7 leaders to promote laws regarding women around the world.

At a meeting of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council on February 19, 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron, who had chaired the meeting, announced that the achievement of gender equality was a main objective of the French G7 mandate.

He called on 35 women's rights activists to join the Advisory Council, including lawyer and MP Bochra Belhaj Hmida and Wided Bouchamaoui, businesswoman and former president of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA).

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