A: I am a person that loves and lives life to the fullest. My name is Nour Drine, and I was born in Tunisia. I’m 19 years old now, and I went to college at a university for social sciences.
When I was 16 I joined an organization called Youth Without Borders and I took part in a program called Girls Towards the Future. This program enabled girls (15-18 years old) and taught them about women’s rights and gender issues. It provided them with the skills and tools to make them leaders in society. I also participated in the Egyptian Social Forum for Youth as a civil society activist and as an activist fighting for women’s rights in the Arab world.
I was able to accomplish all of these things because of my belief that the woman isn’t something that needs to be “perfect”, isn’t something to be ashamed of, and isn’t a form of entertainment. I have always carried and still carry the spark of relief that as long as I am alive and breathing I will fight, object, and spread the consciousness that a change needs to be made.
A: The Tunisian woman has so many responsibilities that they exceed her abilities. She is a fighting woman, a raising mother, a good sister, a working wife. The Tunisian woman also suffers from a phenomenon of violence. There are four different kinds of violence being perpetrated against these women: physical, mental, sexual, and economic. The most prevalent here is physical violence, which exceeds 32% according to the National Committee of the Working Woman in the General Tunisian Association for Labor. Violence that is mental/psychological takes second place with 28.9%, sexual violence affects 15.7% of women, and economic violence affects 7.1% of women.
Violence against women in Tunisia has increased dramatically since the January 14th Revolution (2011). Economic violence, meaning when men prevent women from working and earning money, has especially been on the rise. All types of violence against women are something people don’t like to talk about, and very few of those who experience it report it.
Q: What is the source of these problems? Is it a certain interpretation of religion, or are these the social customs?
A: The problems originated in earlier times, long ago. And the Tunisian woman has been fighting for her freedoms ever since. These days, the problems are a result of the society’s chauvinistic customs. The religion plays a role, as well. Tunisia is a Muslim country, but the positive principles of Islam don’t exist here.
Q: How would you like to see the Tunisian woman in the future?
A: My fear for the Tunisian woman comes from religious trends that have started to draw in less educated women. However, my hope in Tunisian women increases daily. They have achieved so many things in so many fields. One Tunisian woman is a world champion of parkour. Another is a doctor with many international awards. There are writers, public transportation drivers, cooks, and scholars.