A historic moment happened in Tunisia – and in the Arab world – with the recent nomination of the first female prime minister, a decision that comes within the scope of legislative victories made since the Arab Spring revolution.
“The fact that a woman has been appointed is excellent; it’s a step forward [and] it breaks with the stereotype,” says Sara Medini, a political analyst at the Tunisian feminist organization Aswat Nissa. “She comes in at an incredibly critical moment. She has a lot of work to do.”
The nomination of Najla Bouden, a 63-year-old senior civil servant and lecturer in geological engineering who’s from the outside of the political class, comes as no surprise since President Kais Saied was brought to power by a popular extra-parliamentary movement. Women in Tunisia gained the right to vote in 1957, one year after the country became independent. In 1959, they were able to run for office. In 2017, in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, a law designed to put an end to violence against women came into force, with more efforts to come to make sure it is implemented.