Lilia Labidi, an anthropologist and psychologist, is the author of many publications on the Arab world, treating subjects such as the history of the feminist movement, psychology and sexuality, the construction of identity, attitudes towards death, among others.  She has also organized a number of national and international conferences and exhibitions on gender issues. 

She has been professor at the University of Tunis where, among other activities, she directed a program on The Construction of Public Morality in the Arab World and Africa(Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt).  She has occupied positions in universities in France, Egypt, the US, Switzerland, and Singapore, and is co-founder and active member of the Association of Tunisian Women for Research  and Development  (AFTURD) and the Tunisian Association for Health Psychology (TAHP/ATPS). From January to December 2011 Labidi was Minister for Women’s Affairs in the provisional Tunisian government, following the fall of the Ben Ali regime.

Project Summary

This project on Arab women scientists in their home countries and abroad focuses on three themes: 1)how social, cultural, and family situations affect women’s professional activity; 2)how professional structures and practices, including sex discrimination, affect women’s psychology, emotions, and agency; 3)how all this informs their visions of social justice and science’s role in society. The methodology involves personal interviews and psychological and anthropological theory to understand the articulation between the personal and socio-cultural contexts. This study will contribute to awareness and discussion of gender segregation in scientific and technical fields in the Arab world, to an understanding of sex discrimination as a global phenomenon, and to a consideration of national and global measures that might remedy both the sources of this discrimination and its effects.

Major Publications

2009 Joudhour al-harakat al-nisa’iyya: riwayaat li-shakhsiyyaat tarikhiyya [Origins of feminist movements in Tunisia: personal history narratives]. Tunis:Imprimerie Tunis Carthage. (3rd edition).

2014 “Political, aesthetic, and ethical positions of Tunisian women artists, 2011 – 2013.” Journal of North African Studies 19(2), March 2014, special issue on Women, Gender, and the Arab Spring

2007 “Islamic law, feminism, and family. The reformulation of Hudud in Egypt and Tunisia.” In Moghadam, V.(ed.) From patriarchy to empowerment: women’s participation, movements, and rights in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, pp. 278-292

Previous Terms

Global Fellow, Oct 2013-Oct 2015 Fellow, Sep 1, 2001 - May 1, 2002, "The Construction of Public Morality in the Arab World and Africa: Four Case Studies and Their Policy Implications"