Under the framework of ESC and as part of our volunteering project with WeYouth, we – Daniella Daemon and Inti Alberti – have been doing various activities with children and youngsters in the Public Library of Kalaa Sghira, a peripheral neighbourhood in the city of Sousse, Tunisia. That being so, we have established a very interested group to participate in our activities on a weekly basis. So far, we have developed activities related to non-formal language learning (Spanish/English), workshops on creative recycling of plastics and disposable objects, environmental awareness and much more.
On the 8th of March 2023, we spent International Women’s Day in Tunisia surprised by the lack of mobilisations carried out given that this is a pioneering country in the region in terms of advances in women’s rights and with a long history of mobilisation and struggle within this theme.
Considering the above fact, it became important to us to dedicate an activity to talk about this day and the situation of women now and over the years. We didn’t want to let this day pass in silence, as the majority of the young assistants are girls and, although they know that the day exists, they were not very familiar with the theme and had never celebrated or discussed it before.
Thus, despite all the legislative advances in the country compared to the rest of the region, the social reality, as in many countries, is still very different. We, together with the participants, as women, live it day by day and we thought it would be nice to establish a small debate and talk about some facts in the workshop. The aim was that everyone there could be able to share experiences in a safe space, to release some of the frustration, the harassment and the pressure that a day to day life implies, as one of the participants said:
“even if we don’t like it, we live in a man’s world”.
(14 years old girl)
The topics we discussed during the workshop were:
- The use of public spaces – the public spaces in Tunisia are still almost entirely occupied by men and women do not even have the possibility to go to most of the coffee shops, as they are all mainly for men and very few of them are mixed. In addition, it is still frowned upon by society that women frequent spaces where there are only men.
- Freedom of body and expression
- Employment inequality
- Menstruation and taboos – Subject hardly mentioned in a family environment, and in schools only in a scientific way.
The participants were encouraged to discuss the topics freely and without any judgment. It was a very engaging and meaningful day – we felt rewarded to see all of them passionately discussing the issues and sharing their own experiences, feelings, thoughts and perspectives. Surely, the activity made us learn from the participants and left a positive impact on them. It was a moment of mutual learning between us and all the young people who were present.