Empowerment of rural women in the Mediterranean region. Rural women in three Mediterranean Countries.


-          In 2011, the Tunisian population amounted to 10,673.800 inhabitants with 50.2% women;

-          In 2011, non urban (rural) population represented 30.23% of the total population;

-          Since January 14, 2011, Tunisia has been undergoing a democratic transition; which first phase ended with the promulgation of the new constitution;

-          The new constitution voted in January 2014 aims at implementing an effective gender equality launched since 1956;

-          The fight against all forms of discrimination, men/women, women from both environments (urban and rural) represents a national priority;

-          Since January 14, 2016, Tunisia’s economic transition has been characterized by uncertainties, risks induced by the national environment and the international context;

-          The socioeconomic context in Tunisia remained fragile in 2015 as reflected in several macroeconomic indicators. This is further amplified by the growing weight of the informal economy representing 40% of the GDP;

-         In 2014, illiteracy rate averaged 18.7%. Women’s illiteracy rate (25.0%) doubled that of men’s (12.4%) as did women’s unemployment rate compared to men’s unemployment (22.2% against 11.4%). The same also applies for graduate women’s unemployment (41.9%) versus 21.7% for graduate men. Unemployment mainly affects the north western and south western regions of the country. In this difficult     context, unemployment and job precariousness challenges remain Tunisia’s major concerns.

-          Moreover, Tunisia suffers from sustaining socioeconomic disparities in spite of poverty reduction and the improvement of social indicators over the last two decades. The poverty rate was estimated at 15.5% in 2010 but it would have increased since then.

-          According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, 52.2% of families in need (15,500 families in 2013) receiving assistance in the framework of the National Program Supporting Families in Need (PNAFN) are headed by women;

-          In spite of pubic actions aimed at rural and women’s development, the impact has not been consistent especially in internal regions mainly in terms of access to resources and services;

-          Tunisia has certainly marked economic and social progress, but major problems had accumulated and were reflected in the 2014 Revolution; there is a considerable social pressure to undertake reforms that would yield fair, inclusive and sustainable development.