From visible to invisible: Tunisia’s gendered democracy paradox (2013)

Working Paper #3

Zoe Petkanas (POLIS, University of Cambridge)

This paper will argue that secular Tunisian women have 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 during 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.