Does gender matter within the Tunisian civil society organizations following the "Arab Spring"? The division of labor and responsibilities among young activists

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https://doi.org/10.17583/generos.10339

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Abstract

This article explores the gender dimension of young people participation in Tunisian civil society organizations (CSOs) that emerged largely after the 2011 "revolution". The main aims are, first, to provide information on the Tunisian context; second, to characterize this new activism marked by a large participation of young women; and, third, to identify whether there are elements typical of a gender division of positions, responsibilities and activism work. The Tunisian case is very interesting because political transitions are crucial moments for women's rights and associations. Based on two surveys, we put forward the hypothesis that inequality between men and women in the allocation of responsibilities will increase or decrease depending on the degree of gender inequality in the possession of skills and resources (educational, linguistic, socio-economic) and previous experiences of associative socialization. After outlining the national context, we find that the profiles, resources and socialization of activists are relatively homogeneous. However, while women and men gain access to positions of responsibility with some equality via elections to the executive bodies of CSOs, male leadership prevails in ad hoc activities that grant greater individual public recognition and leadership.

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Author Biographies

Thierry Desrues, Institute of Advanced Social Studies, Spanish Research Council (IESA, CSIC)

Thierry DESRUES is a Research Scientist of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the Institute for Advanced Social Studies (IESA) in Cordoba (Spain). His researches focused on social change, participation and representation in civil society, political parties and protests in North Africa with a specific interest in youth, gender and ethnic dimensions. Currently he is leading the research project ‘‘Crisis and political representation in North Africa.’ (2018-2022) [CSO2017-84949-C3-2-P], supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the European Regional Development Fund. Over the last decade, he has been the IP of the following research projects: “Public problems and activism in the Maghreb region: political and social participation of young " (2015-2017) and “Youth, social changes, politics and networks societies in the Maghreb region” (2012-2014) financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. He is the co-editor or the author of 4 books and five special issues and has published over a hundred academic papers. His main publications of the last year are:

  • ‘We don’t want to be governed like this anymore’: protest democracy as an expression of a crisis of governmentality in post-revolution Tunisia” (British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 2021. With Éric Gobe). DOI: 10.1080/13530194.2021.1996333
  • "Participation, association-building and dissent in North Africa: the various dimensions of youth activism, from the fall of Ben Ali to the revolt against Bouteflika (2011-2019)" (Special issue, The Journal of North African Studies, 2021. Coord. with M. Garcia de Paredes).
  • “Unravelling the adoption of youth quotas in African hybrid regimes: Evidence from Morocco”, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 59(1), 41-58, 2021. (With M. García De Paredes.
  • “Associations and young people during the Tunisian transition: pluralism, socialisation, and democratic legitimation?”, The Journal of North African Studies, 26/2: 251- 271, 2021 (With A. Velasco).

Ana Velasco Arranz, Higher Technical School of Engineering Agronomic, Food and Biosystems, Polytechnic University of Madrid (ETSIAAB-UPM)

Ana VELASCO ARRANZ is a professor and researcher of Sociology at the Higher Technical School of Engineering Agronomic, Food and Biosystems of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (ETSIAAB-UPM). Over the last decade her research work has focused on social changes, gender and young people issues in the West Mediterranean area in general, and the Spanish rural and agrarian world, in particular. She has contributed to the following research projects: “Public problems and activism in the Maghreb region: political and social participation of young " (2015-2017);"Youth, social changes, politics and networks societies in the Maghreb region” (2012-2014) and ‘‘Crisis and political representation in North Africa. Institutional arrangements and protests’ (2018-2022) [CSO2017-84949-C3-2-P] financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. In recent years she has published several articles on gender, participation in civil society and social mobility in North Africa:

-“Associations and young people during the Tunisian transition: pluralism, socialisation, and democratic legitimation?”, The Journal of North African Studies, 26/2: 251- 271, 2021 (With T. Desrues).

-“Aperçus sur la question de la mobilité sociale et la reproduction des élites à travers l’enseignement supérieur”, in A. Rouag (ed.) Les jeunes, l’Ecole et l’Education. Paris : L’Harmattan, 235-256, 2016 (with F. Zahid and T. Desrues).

Hamida El Bour, Institute of Press and Information Sciences (IPSI)

Hamida EL BOUR holds a PhD in Sociology and has been a professor at the Tunisian Institute of Press and Information Science (IPSI) since 2000. She was the Director of the Journalism Department from 2008-2011, 2011-2014 and 2014-2015. She served as head of the media monitoring unit at the Independent Higher Instance for Elections (ISIE) after the Tunisian “revolution” (July - November 2011). From February 14, 2015 to April 12, 2017, she was appointed President and CEO of the Tunis Afrique Presse Agency (TAP). Since August 10, 2017, she is the Director of IPSI.

Her main publications are related to the journalistic profession, activism and gender: 

-2019. « Les femmes dans les médias, questions de discours, de genre, de représentations - entre visibilités et invisibilités. Introduction. »Iin special issue “Les femmes dans les medias”, French Journal for Media Research, 11/2019. (with Zeineb Touati and Nawel Chaouni).

- 2017. Negotiating Journalism Core Values and Cultural Diversity, OSLO, Nordicom (Shared Horizons Research Project) (Co-ed.).

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Published

2022-10-25

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Desrues, T., Velasco Arranz, A., & El Bour, H. (2022). Does gender matter within the Tunisian civil society organizations following the "Arab Spring"? The division of labor and responsibilities among young activists. Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies, 11(3). https://doi.org/10.17583/generos.10339