As recommended in the final report of Gender Election Observation Mission (GEOM) 2014 Tunisia, 300.000 women, mostly living in rural areas, who have been excluded from the electoral process need to be given access to the vote for any future elections in Tunisia. The fact that these 300.000 women lacked the official identity card necessary to cast their vote reveals a gap in Tunisia´s democratic system, especially for those committed to the gender parity agenda.
In order to have a joint multi-stakeholder action plan that addresses the seriousness of the issue and mobilises concerned authorities, Gender Concerns International hosted a meeting at its Tunis office with representatives of the Independent High Authority for Elections and a variety of non-governmental organisations working on gender and electoral observation. The meeting was scheduled to brainstorm and draft a concrete action plan for the upcoming municipal elections and compiling recommendations for the complete inclusion of women as voters and candidates in the elections. A need to create a common platform from which to take mutual action and plan activities to promote the citizenship of rural women and their inclusion in the electoral process was also discussed at the meeting. Gender Concerns stressed the importance of working with more local NGOs to reach more regions.
Furthermore, Gender Concerns is preparing to work jointly with the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) on a study to define the predisposition and motivation of Tunisian people towards voting and participation in the electoral process. Gender Concerns is happy to contribute to such a study as it will yield important and useful information for a complete understanding of voter and particular female voter rationale behind electoral participation. Gender Concerns looks forward to the results of the study and of implementing new concepts and important awareness campaigns to continue to increase women’s participation in Tunisia’s political process and ongoing transformation.