5-6 JUNE 2018 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Leaders of change in the Maghreb

Promoting female leadership in the Maghreb

Lab debate
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
09:30 to 10:45

The debate session will be structured around three axes:

1) The inclusion of women in municipal policies (eg specific policies: transport, security, education ...)

2) Women's participation in local politics (local elected women, representativeness, legal provisions favoring parity ...)

3) Women leaders, leaders of influence and change in the Maghreb.

Key points

  • International Labour Organization (ILO) statistics show that women represent 24 % of employers worldwide, but only 6 % in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Equality of inheritance for women, long a taboo subject in Tunisia, is now being debated and may well be voted into law soon.
  • Many women are unaware of their potential. Mentoring programmes and associations open the way for them.
  • Farming cooperatives need support to help them compete with industrial interests able to invest in more sophisticated production technology.


This session examined how promoting the leadership of women is changing the social fabric of the Maghreb. There was a particular focus on the importance of women’s participation in the political system. Even though there has been much progress in access to education, the economy and political representation, many obstacles still hold back women and girls from reaching their full potential in the Maghreb region.

Women needing their own careers is a major topic in the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) report that was published in February by the Committee of the Regions. The report examines how regional and local government can empower women and how the EU can facilitate that process.

Access to information and education are vital. This is particularly problematic in rural areas, although digital technologies can potentially give a maximum number of women and girls access to content. Regional and local authorities have a central role in education and should integ


Greater access to education in Ireland helped change attitudes over the 35 years since the first referendum on abortion. Many people are now less under the influence of the Church and in May voted to legalise abortion. Although this has been legal in Tunisia for the past 45 years, the country’s long struggle against traditions for other reforms continues.

Organised by


Farida KEBRI
programme analyst
Fatima Amehri
Bochra Bel Haj Hmida Ep Sahli
Member of Parliament
National Assembly of Tunisia
Mary Freehill
Dublin City councillor
European Committee of the Regions
Cyrine Ben Mlouka
Réseau des Femmes Leaders du Maghreb