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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


5th November 2012

CGHR Research Group

From Visible to Invisible: Tunisia's Gendered Democracy Paradox

Zoe Petkanas (POLIS PhD student, University of Cambridge)

This paper will argue that secular Tunisian women faced a unique set of challenges to accessing formal political power since 2011, indicating a disconnect between the dominant image of Tunisia and the reality of the post-revolutionary state and society. It will examine secular women’s invisibility in formal politics, in sharp contrast to their visibility both historically and in the uprisings, by deconstructing the nuanced ways in which access to full citizenship rights is differentiated by gender and other identity markers. In doing so, this paper will situate Tunisian secular women in the contemporary political scene, revealing the ways in which power has reconsolidated in the vanguard state of the Arab Spring. This paper is part of the CGHR Research Group, a forum for graduate students and early-career researchers from any department and disciplinary background researching issues of governance and human rights in the global, regional, and national contexts.

A version of this paper has been published as a CGHR Working Paper.