Progress

Tunisian women now legally allowed to travel with their kids without dads’ permission 

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A woman bathes with a child on the beach in la Goulette city. Women in Tunisia will be allowed to travel with their children without the father’s permission, according to a new law passed in the country. (FETHI BELAID/AFP/GettyImages)

Women in Tunisia will be allowed to travel with their children without the father’s permission, according to a new law passed in the country. The law, proposed by the Women and Family Affairs Ministry over the summer and passed on November 10, is a change to the Tunisian authority’s practice of prohibiting a woman from leaving Tunisia with their children. It also reflects a movement toward stronger protections for women’s rights in the country as part of Tunisia’s new constitution, which makes it “one of the few countries in the Middle East and North Africa region with a constitutional obligation to work toward gender parity in elected assemblies,” according to Human Rights Watch.

“Tunisia’s action recognizes that women are equal partners in making decisions about their children,” said Amna Guellali, a Tunisia researcher with HRW. “Tunisia should follow this important step with measures to end all discrimination against women, notably in personal status matters.”

There is still work to be done for women’s rights in the country, HRW warned: while women can be granted custody of children, fathers remain legal guardians; Tunisian daughters receive unequal share of family inheritance; and children can be prohibited from living with their mothers if the women remarry. “The personal status code still discriminates against women in their families and this needs to change” Guellali said. “Ending all remaining legal discrimination against women should be a top priority for Tunisia’s lawmakers.”

Read the full story at Human Rights Watch.

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