Islamism and Uncertainty: Charting the Future of Women's Rights in Tunisia

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The supposed clash between Islamism and women's rights has proven to be one of the most contentious realms of debate in the wake of the recent Arab uprisings. This is particularly true in Tunisia, where a long-banned Islamist party called Ennahda won a resounding 41 per cent of the votes in the October 2011 elections. This paper analyses the perceived conflict between Ennahda Islamists and women's rights through the lens of first-hand interviews conducted with forty-six Ennahda women activists. It finds that Tunisia's Islamist women are taking an increasingly vocal role in determining the direction of the country's women's rights agenda, and argues that greater attention must be accorded to the experiences and motivations of women identifying with the resurgent Ennahda movement.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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