A proposal to allow men and women to be recognised as equal heads of the family will be submitted to the president.

From allowing Saudi women the right to drive to extending maternity leave for government workers in the UAE, the last 12 months have seen many leaps forward in the realms of gender equality in the region.

And 2018 doesn’t look set to see those opportunities slow down, judging by some recent news.

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According to a local lawyer and MP, plans will soon be proposed to end marriage dowries in Tunisia, as well as make men and women equal heads of a family.

 

Bochra Hmida, who heads up the MENA nation’s Committee for Personal Freedoms and Equality, revealed this week that the board is currently drafting new legislation to offer Tunisian women greater rights.

The changes—which also include allowing both men and women the right to pass on family names to their children—will be put to Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi next month, Tunisie Numerique reports.

Bochra Hmida

Following that, the proposals will be presented to Tunisia’s parliament as draft laws for debate, amendment and voting.

If passed, the new laws would become the latest pro-women legislation in the nation, which passed a Law on Eliminating Violence Against Women last July.

Worded to encompass the wide range of ways that abuse can present, the law covers “any physical, moral, sexual or economic aggression against women based on discrimination between the two sexes and resulting in damage or physical, sexual, psychological or economic suffering to the woman, including threats of such aggression, pressure or deprivation of rights and freedoms, both in public and private life.”

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The law, which was praised as a landmark step for women’s rights by the Human Rights Watch, also covers sexual harassment in public, and allows women to get restraining orders against abusers more easily.

We’ll keep you updated with how the latest proposals fare as they pass through the legal system.

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Images: Getty