Young Couples in Good Times and in Bad: Social norms that perpetuate violence against women and girls among young Tunisians in peri-urban areas
Around half of women in Tunisia have experienced some form of violence in their life. Over 90% of the population thinks women should be discreet to avoid violence in public spaces. From the perspective of Oxfam and dozens of women’s rights organisations, social norms that legitimise gender inequality and violence are rooted in the deeply entrenched belief – found, to some extent, in every country – that men and boys are more valuable than women and girls. ENOUGH, a worldwide Oxfam campaign, aims to replace harmful social norms with more positive ones that promote gender equality and non-violence. To better understand how social norms are constructed among young people in Tunisia and how they influence behaviour, Oxfam Tunisia conducted formative research by interviewing 40 young men and women and analysing the results with experts, NGOs and bloggers working on violence against women and girls (VAWG).
From the research and subsequent analysis in a workshop, three social norms were identified as drivers of violence: women should not strive for equal decision-making status in their relationship; women should prioritise home and family over public or professional life; and women should behave in public in a way that respects male domination. This research will inform the development of the ENOUGH campaign in Tunisia, sharpening its focus on changing the norms that underlie VAWG.