Tunisian parliament takes milestone step to address violence against women

In a landmark decision, Tunisia has approved comprehensive legislation to end ‘all violence against women’. The new law, which was unanimously adopted by the parliament on 26 July, aims to address ‘any physical, moral, sexual or economic aggression’. The EU has applauded the bill, commenting that this is a ‘crucial step towards absolute respect for human rights and equal opportunities’.

The legislation introduces sweeping reforms that will make it easier to prosecute domestic abuse and it provides for judicial and psychological assistance to victims. It imposes stiffer penalties for sexual abuse in the public sphere, including the workplace. The law also expands the definitions of gender-based violence to include psychological and economic abuse, both in the public and the domestic spheres.

Furthermore, it addresses not only the punitive aspect of gender-based violence, but also contains preventative measures. Additionally, the bill incorporates the gender training of police, teachers, judicial and hospital staff and people from other sectors who might act as first responders.

The FWF Code of Labour Practices already incorporates the principles espoused in the new legislation. FWF requires brands and factories to ensure a safe workplace for women and to provide a nurturing environment for women to progress in their careers. Violence against women, both in the world of work and in the domestic sphere, negatively affects not only women, but also their families, communities, workplaces and the countries in which they reside. The majority of workers in Tunisian garment factories are women, so the law will highly impact their rights and provide them with more safeguards.

The new legislation will also have a significant impact on the financial lives of women, including in the workplace, and will further complement FWF’s ongoing work to ensure equal remuneration and living wages.

FWF has been active in Tunisia since 2004. Currently there are 49 Tunisian suppliers sourcing 19 FWF brands. To learn more about FWF’s work in Tunisia, please read the Tunisia country study.

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