Roundup: Stamp exhibition honors distinguished women in Tunisia

TUNIS, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- A stamp exhibition paying tribute to Tunisian women is being held in Tunis, capital of Tunisia, to mark the national Women's Day that falls on Saturday.

The exhibition, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, honors 22 Tunisian women of different eras who distinguished themselves in various fields, such as Al-Kahina, a Berber warrior-queen who led her people against invaders in the 7th century, and Fatma Haddad, the first Tunisian woman to hold a state doctorate in philosophy, and Azza Hammou, the first Tunisian female doctor in pediatric radiology.

More contemporary figures include Ons Jabeur, the first African and also the first Arab female tennis player since 1968 to reach a Grand Slam singles final. She was awarded by President Kais Saied on July 14 the country's Great Medal of the National Order of Merit.

"The exhibition is an opportunity for me to explore the power of Tunisian women throughout history," Sana Dkhili, a Tunisian woman in her 30s who came to visit the exhibition, told Xinhua.

"All these women are different. They represent me. They are the history, the strength, and the struggle. They are the ones who made Tunisian women today," Dkhili said proudly.

Mohamed Ben Chaabane, a father of four, was also inspired by the exhibition.

"All the stories inspire me because every woman left an imprint in our history. They paved the way for the current generation," he told Xinhua.

Tunisia is frequently cited as being at the forefront of women's rights in the Arab world.

In addition to International Women's Day, Tunisians also celebrate their own women's day on Aug. 13, the day in 1956 when Tunisia passed the personal status code, which abolished polygamy and gave women a relatively equal footing in society.

Moreover, women in the North African country play an important role in politics. Najla Bouden, the incumbent prime minister of Tunisia, is the first woman in the Arab world to assume such office. Including her, the cabinet of Tunisia now has an unprecedented 10 women.

Kat Bent L'amor, a Tunisian singer who visited the exhibition, told Xinhua that there is always a prejudice or stereotype that religion leads to gender inequality in the Middle East and North Africa, but "the progress Tunisia has achieved on this issue proves that religion does not always lead to the gender gap."

Still, the status of women in Tunisia is far from perfect. A recent survey carried out by Arab Barometer found that 61 percent of respondents in Tunisia, highest in the region, believe that violence against women in the country has increased in the past year despite the adoption of relevant laws to protect them in 2017.

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