Meherzia Labidi Maïza

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Meherzia Labidi Maïza
Meherzia Labidi Maiza.jpg
Born (1963-12-17) 17 December 1963 (age 55)
ResidenceParis, France
EducationUniversity of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle
Political partyEnnahda Movement

Meherzia Maïza Labidi (Arabic: محرزية العبيدي معيزة‎; born 17 December 1963)[1] is a Tunisian politician and professional translator and interpreter. She became the first Vice-President of the Constituent Assembly of Tunisia.

She was the "most senior elected woman in the Middle East".[2] She was proud of helping to include a clause to protect women's rights into Tunisia's post Arab Spring constitution.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Meherzia Labidi was born on 17 December 1963[4] in El Meziraâ in the town of Hammamet in Nabeul Governorate in North East Tunisia. She graduated from a mixed high school in the town of Grombalia in 1982 and then moved south to study at the Ecole Normale Superieure in the city of Sousse.[5]

Labidi-Maïza married in 1986 and went to France with her husband, who is a telecommunications engineer,[6] to study in the École supérieure d'interprètes et de traducteurs [fr] at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle. She earned a master's degree in economics and translation and a post-graduate degree in English literature and theatre studies in 1992.[7] She teaches translation at the European Institute of Human Sciences [fr] in St. Denis.[7]


In 2004 Labidi-Maïza co-authored Abraham, réveille-toi, ils sont devenus fous! (Abraham, Wake Up. They Are Going Crazy) with Laurent Klein.[4][8] She gives lectures on education in multicultural societies, women, religion and society. Since 2006, she has been Chair of the Global Women of Faith Network.[7]

In 2009, Labidi-Maïza was a member of the European Council of religious leaders. She came to international notice when she supported a more moderate position over wearing the niqab. This was during the French debates that aimed to restrict it being worn in France.[6] In 2015, she served as the honorary President of Religions for Peace, a New York-based NGO recognized at the UN.[7]


On 23 October 23, 2011,[1] Labidi-Maïza was elected to the Tunisian Constituent Assembly as a representative of the Ennahda Movement for Tunisians living abroad.[2] She noted that she benefited from a clause that required every other candidate to be a woman.[3] On 22 November she became the first Vice-President of the assembly after receiving 142 out of the 214 votes.[4] In 2012 Labidi-Maïza was described as the "most senior elected woman in the Middle East".[2]

She organised the debates that gave birth to Tunisia's new constitution. She was proud of ensuring that women's rights were included in Article 45 of the constitution.[3] She was identified by the Huffington Post as one of eight women who "made the world a better place" in 2014. The post Arab Spring constitution contained clauses that her own supporters did not like but she said, "It's like giving birth: painful, but in the end everyone is happy when the child arrives".[3]

Labidi-Maïza is a French and a Tunisian citizen, daughter of a father of eight children, who told them that they must graduate before they could consider marriage.[6] Her dual nationality is the subject of controversy to her critics.[5][9] She is married and mother of two girls and a boy.[4]

She was elected to the assembly of the representatives of the people in the Tunisian parliamentary election in October 2014, this time in the second level district of Nabeul in north east Tunisia.[1] In 2015 she was still a member of the Tunisian Government and led their Committee For Women, Family, Children and the Elderly.[7]


  1. ^ a b c (in Arabic) « Déclaration sur l'honneur de la situation patrimoniale de la vice-présidente de l'ANC Meherzia Labidi », Marsad, 11 June 2013 Archived September 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c [Mehdi Hasan talks to Tunisian politician Mehrezia Labidi on gender, democracy and the Arab Spring], Mehdi Hasan, 18 April 2012, New Statesman, Retrieved 8 December 2015
  3. ^ a b c d 8 Women Who Already Made The World A Better Place In 2014, Charlotte Alfred, Huffington Post, Retrieved 8 December 2015
  4. ^ a b c d Mehrezia Labidi-Maiza: The First Vice-President of the Assembly, Tunisia Live, Retrieved 7 December 2015
  5. ^ a b (in French) Abbes Ben Mahjouba, « Mehrézia Labidi-Maïza : une islamiste libérale ? », Webdo, 26 novembre 2011
  6. ^ a b c (in French) Isabelle Hanne, « Diaspora tunisienne. Un face à femmes », Libération, 20 January 2012, Retrieved 8 December 2015
  7. ^ a b c d e Meherzia Labidi Maïza, The 9th Al Jazeera Forum, Retrieved 8 December 2015
  8. ^ Labidi-Maïza, Mehrézia; Klein, Laurent (2004). Abraham, réveille-toi, ils sont devenus fous! (in French). Paris: Éditions de l'Atelier. ISBN 978-2-7082-3769-8.
  9. ^ (in French) « Mehrezia Laâbidi : « Je suis originaire de Tunisie mais maintenant je suis une citoyenne française » », Business News, 23 November 2011