Promulgated in 1984, the 'Code de la famille' legalizes a different status between men and women, placing the latter in a position of subordination. Hence, it contradicts the promises of equality between the sexes defended during the fight for independence and proclaimed in the Constitution.
In spite of the obstacles and constraints of the political environment – the weight of the colonial period which reduced the status of women to a stake in national identity, the limits imposed on public freedom by an authoritarian regime, a series of violent events in the 1990s – associations have always succeeded, with pragmatism, in finding new resources, especially at an international level.
The author recalls the various stages of construction of those women’s organizations: the elaboration of their demands, their insertion into a political environment where they are obliged to define their identity, invent a method for their struggle, choose their allies and adversaries and the means of being heard in the political arena.
Both an enlightening and unique view of the history of women in Algeria and a reflection on a feminist movement in an Arab country, this book lets us understand the specificities of their situation and relive, fifty years after Independence, the various stages of democratic construction in Algeria.
Feriel Lalami is a political scientist and doctor of sociology.