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Tunisian Female Judges and ‘The Mobilization of the Emancipative Potential of the Tunisian Family Law’

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Chapter Summary

The expectation that women in powerful positions secure the interests of other women is key to the Tunisian political transition. However, factors other than their shared sex or gender may possibly interfere with female solidarity. This chapter tests the hypothesis of female solidarity using female judges as a case study. In the early 2000s, a number of women judges made landmark decisions on mixed marriages, inheritance, and child custody. All these decisions improved the position of women in these areas. This chapter asks whether women judges in the lower family courts display the same solidarity with female litigants as their female counterparts in the highest court of the country, by mobilizing the emancipative potential of the law. The analysis of four types of gender-coded cases shows that while the female judges secured the interests of women litigants on some levels, on others a variety of factors interfered with female solidarity.



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