In a short article Le Soir d’Algérie newspaper announced that Fella Ababsa, known in the Arab world as Fulla AlDjazayria :), had apparently applied for a membership in one of the Alliance parties. They didn’t say which of the three parties would be honoured by her presence… The MSP perhaps? 🙂
This article came a few weeks after we had been told that one of the “reforms” Bouteflika had decided to launch would be the increase of women presence in the political organisations/institutions.
Bouteflika is probably the one who gave the biggest importance to this topic in the past three decades. I can picture him giving a speech to and taking pictures with “influential” Algerian women every March 8th. But this time a law installing a sort of affirmative action would be implemented. It would force all the parties to have at least 33% of females in their electoral lists. With no surprise the political parties are mostly against this law. 33% reserved to females means up to 33% (I assume the females would be in the bottom of the lists) less chances for the usual candidates to be elected. Even Louiza Hanoune, the only female leader of a party and who ranked 2nd in the last presidential “elections”, is against this law. Hanoune’s presidential results show by the way that to a certain extent the Algerian people have no problem voting for a woman and even having her as a president.
The opponents to such a law use the same argument that is always used against any affirmative action law which is to ask, what about qualification and meritocracy?
This argument would be acceptable in other countries or in Algeria in other fields, but mentioning skills/qualifications/meritocracy and Algerian politics in the same sentence is just a joke. I mean we’re talking of a country where the presence of a name in an electoral list, its position in this list and the success of this list are things which the name holder usually pays for, and I am talking of real dinars (bags of dinars). And I believe a woman who has enough money and wants to buy a political seat then she certainly doesn’t need a law…
Algerian women are already trusting many positions in the “active life”. Studenthood, medical field, teaching field are but some fields where the Algerian woman’s position is “better” than the man’s. And we can find women almost in every professional category. This even triggered some calls in the past to get the women back to home as they would be behind males’ unemployment.
But back to politics, today we have one female minister and two female minister-delegates in Ouyahia’s government. Though none of them holds a major ministry. There are also 31 female deputies in the APN representing 7.7% of the total number of those useless “representatives” of ours, and 7 female senators in our Madjliss El Oumma. Note that the seven senators are all appointed by the president, and 12 and 11 of the female deputies are from the FLN and Hanoune’s PT respectively. It is by the way interesting to see that the MSP has no female deputy despite those conferences they show on TV with many female members of this party. I have no information on the local representatives but I know some women are elected in some municipalities (now this is a very informative sentence!).
Most of these women are unknown to the public. We of course know Khalida Toumi and Louiza Hanoune (how couldn’t we?!). Zahia Benarous and Nouara Djaafar are known because both were TV journalists. Zohra Bitat is famous because of her role during the Battle of Algiers (another hero, Djamila Bouhired, has apparently refused the president’s offer of a seat in the senate). Another relatively famous one is Setif’s deputy, Naima Farhi, mainly for her looks…
Here is a government website dedicated to Algerian women. It looks empty to me.
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