Najla Boden The First Woman Prime Minister in the Arab World: Representation of Women will Exceed 50%

Hülya Karahan

Production Editor

Najla Boden promises a women’s government in Tunisia, the representation of women will exceed 50%.

On Saturday, Najla Boden, in charge of heading the Tunisian government, promised a women’s government in the country, saying, “For the first time,  will exceed  50% “the percentage of women’s representation in a Tunisian government.

She said that there is no truth to what is being circulated on social media about the names of the prospective government members.

“Boden” indicated that consultations are still going on, with the list to be announced soon.

Earlier, the Secretary-General of the Tunisian Labor Union, Noureddine Tabboubi, considered that the appointment of the country’s president, “Kais Saied” as a woman prime minister, is a message to the outside before the inside, wondering about the powers that will be granted to “Najla Boden”, in this context.

And last Wednesday, the Tunisian presidency announced that “Qais Saeed” had appointed “Najla Bouden Ramadan” as prime minister, about two months after he took exceptional measures, including dismissing the government of “Hisham Al-Mashishi”.

Thus, “Najla” will become the first woman to head the government in the history of Tunisia, and she is the first female prime minister in the Arab world.

Saeed decided, on the evening of Sunday, July 25, to relieve Prime Minister Hisham al-Mashishi, to freeze the work and competencies of Parliament for a period of 30 days, and to lift the parliamentary immunity of all members of Parliament, in addition to the President of the Republic assuming the executive authority and the Presidency of the Public Prosecution.

Political and human rights forces demanded “Said” to set a clear roadmap to get out of this exceptional situation and to provide guarantees that freedoms and respect for the law would not be violated, while most parties rejected the president’s seizure of all powers.

And Najla Boudin Ramadan, born in 1958 in the state of Kairouan, is a professor of higher education at the National School of Engineers in Tunisia, specializing in geosciences.

In 2011, Najla Boudin was appointed Director-General in charge of quality in the Ministry of Higher Education. She also held the position of Head of the Purpose Action Unit in the same ministry. In 2015 she was assigned a task at the office of the former Minister of Higher Education, Shehab Boden.

For the first time in the history of Tunisia and the Arab world, a woman is appointed to head the government. But the designation of Najla Boden, a doctor of geology, an outsider to the world of politics, raises many questions at a time when all the levers of power are in the hands of President Qais Saeed after the exceptional measures he announced on July 25.

Najla Boden’s designation put an end to the speculations of followers of Tunisian politics. There is no economic expert, nor is he close to President Qais Saeed, but rather a woman who is barely unknown to everyone at the head of the government, without political experience, and we have no information about her other than her biography.

She is known for her perseverance in work and all those who worked with her praise her efforts and the quality of her work, which made her gain a strong reputation, especially in the academic field. Kais Saied described the decision to appoint Najla Boden as “historic” and “a pride for Tunisia” and “a tribute to Tunisian women.”

Great aspirations in a country suffering from an economic and social crisis

So far, it seems that the strategy adopted by the Tunisian president has borne fruit in public opinion. “Tunisians saluted this symbolic gesture towards women. Kais Saied still enjoys important popular support. But the aspirations of Tunisians are also very high.

Tunisia’s political instability has worsened the economic situation. In addition to the low economic growth ten years ago (+0.6 percent annually) and the high inflation rate (6 percent annually), this field has also been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic causing a decline in several sectors, such as the tourism sector, which represents about 14 percent of GDP. the country’s crude aggregate, and employs about 400,000 people). The pandemic has also caused an increase in the unemployment rate from 15 percent to 18 percent, affecting especially young people and women. One-fifth of Tunisia’s population lives on 5.5 dollars a day and suffers from poverty, which led to popular protests demanding better social conditions.

This comes at a time when the authorities have deepened debts (about 80 percent of GDP) in order to pay the pensions of public sector employees. To make matters worse, the crucial deadlines awaiting Tunisia. The first is to repay the 4.5 billion euros of debt this year, and the second is to find 5.7 billion euros to complete the budget.

So far, the business community is the only one who doubts Najla Boden‘s abilities to face challenges due to the lack of experience and knowledge in the economic field in particular.