Monday the 13th of August 2018 (Tunisia’s National Women’s Day)
After years of continuous effort put by Civil Society and Women’s Organisations, Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi announced his plans to submit a draft bill to the parliament, equalising inheritance rights between men and women.
Picture source: Channel News Asia
The current Tunisian law states that male heirs should inherit twice as much as females of the same level of kinship. This means that within a family, the son would inherent double the amount his sister would. According to the Tunisian president “we will overturn this situation” and make equality the rule rather than the exception.
The new bill, once submitted and accepted, would ensure that by law, women are entitled to an equal amount of the inheritance as men. It is still possible for Tunisians to make a last will and testament and express how they wish to see their assets divided. However, should such a last will or testament not be in place, then the new equality law would apply by default.
Tunisian president Essebsi stated he considers equalising inheritance rights between men and women his duty as the president of all Tunisians. He also stated it is his duty to unite and not to divide.
Last month, a woman from Tunisia’s moderate Islamic party was elected as Mayor of Tunis as the first ever women to hold that post. Tunisia has also allowed Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men since last year. Therefore, Tunisia is currently the country in its region to give the most rights to women, taking crucial steps towards a more gender equal society.
Gender Concerns International is elated by the news and the future, which President Essebsi is working towards for Tunisia. Furthermore, Gender Concerns expresses its support of the draft bill in hopes to see further developments of this kind.