The House Democracy Partnership (HDP) is a bipartisan commission of the U.S. House of Representatives that works directly with 21-partner parliaments around the world to support the development of effective, independent and responsive legislatures. HDP is proudly implemented by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

In December 2018, IRI facilitated an HDP Women Lead seminar in Washington, D.C. for 21 women members of parliament from nine HDP partner parliaments. The seminar focused on drafting gender-inclusive legislation. Hon. Rym Mahjoub, a former member of parliament from Tunisia from 2014 until 2019, was a member of the Women’s Parliament Committee, which works across party lines to defend women’s rights and increase women’s political representation.

In this semi-regular series, we profile HDP alumni to show how they are applying the lessons they’ve learned to their legislative work.

What parliament and chamber are you a member of?

My name is Rym Mahjoub and I was a member of the Afek Tounis party in the Tunisian parliament.

What HDP program did you participate in?

HDP Women Lead seminar in December 2018.

Looking back on the HDP program, what was most impactful for you?

I was impressed to see the resources provided to the American Congress. The budget for Congress is impressive and I was surprised to see the resources and teams that support the MPs. It made me realize the deficiencies of the Tunisian parliament.

What is your favorite thing about your country?

Following the 2011 revolution, there was liberty of expression and democracy for the first time in Tunisia.

Why did you decide to become a member of parliament?

Following the revolution, the country was struggling in the transitional period to become a democratic country and to overcome economic and social challenges. I wanted to help change things and that’s why I decided to become a member of parliament. I have been dreaming of a democratic, developed and open Tunisia.

How are you applying your experience from the HDP mission to your role as a member of parliament?

I applied my experiences from HDP in my political endeavors. I realize the gap that we have compared to the United States, but I know we can reach this level of political development if we follow the same process.

What accomplishments in parliament are you most proud of?

I had the chance to contribute to the constitution. I also was the only woman in parliament that was a president of a parliamentary bloc. I had an important role in the opposition and fought for the causes I believe in such as the bill of violence against women that passed.

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