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Bowdoin College

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Tunisia and Italy: Politics and Religious Integration in the Mediterranean

Abstract

Women are the targets of street harassment perpetrated by men every day, particularly in communal spaces such as streets and public transportation. In Tunis, young women must alter their dress and behavior in order to comfortably and navigate public spaces; however, despite these measures, their access to space is still far more limited than men’s access to public space. I interviewed four women in their 20s from the greater Tunis area on their experiences of public street harassment. The women indicated that street harassment is merely one manifestation of a greater gender issue in the country. Although street harassment may seem miniscule in the broader scope of sexism in Tunisia, these women indicated that it takes up significant mental capacity just to travel in public spaces, and that their freedom and equality in not only the public, but ultimately everywhere, is compromised. Furthermore, these women proposed many possible reasons for the perpetration of street harassment, including a man’s upbringing, his education, class, and region, as well as broader cultural inequities between men and women. Lastly, the findings of this research also showed that while there are few effective reactive solutions to street harassment, these young women have hope that future generations will inherit a culture of respecting women and treating them as equals in all realms of life.

Disciplines

Defense and Security Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Public Policy

 

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