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Sub-Saharan women in Tunisia, at the intersection of discriminations

18 December 2022

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On International Migrants’ Day, we’re sharing the stories of four Sub-Saharan migrant women living in Tunisia:

  • Rosalia, law student, Gabonese.
  • Elsie, industrial engineering student, Congolese.
  • Yakouta Perle Aurore, computer engineer, from the Central African Republic.
  • Leila, craftswoman and founder of NDAWU (a company specialising in manufacturing and selling handmade products), Gabonese.

Their testimonies attest to the extent of the multiple discriminations faced by Sub-Saharan migrant women in Tunisia. Their stories deconstruct a stereotypical narrative about sub-Saharan migrants as ‘unskilled workers’. Though their socioeconomic situation is comfortable, our interviewees have nevertheless experienced several forms of discrimination based mainly on gender and race.

Wejdane Ben Chaabane and Zohra Manaï made this film as part of an online training course for journalists in Tunisia on ‘Non-discrimination and diversity in the media’. The training, organized by Minority Rights Group International from February to March 2021, aimed to provide journalists with the tools and resources to make space in the media for the voices and experiences of minorities and minoritized groups in Tunisia.

Through the testimonies of Rasalia, Elsie, Yakouta and Leila, this video highlights what these Sub-Saharan women endure every day. From everyday and institutional racism to difficulties with integration to exploitation and sexual harassment, these women are positioned at the intersection of various types of discrimination linked not only to their gender and racial origin but also to their social class.

Despite the criminalization of racial discrimination in Tunisia, discrimination persists. Discrimination was criminalised by the promulgation of organic law n°50 on 23 October 2018, relating to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in Tunisia.

The filmmakers examine the main causes of this oppression and violence and ask, how can we face this multiple discrimination?

Photo: Still from the documentary ‘Sub-Saharan women in Tunisia, at the intersection of discriminations’. Credit: Wejdane Ben Chaabane and Zohra Manaï.

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