The Revolution of Dignity

By Grace O'Keeffe on Saturday April 25th, 2015

What we call the ‘Arab Spring’, Aya Chebbi calls a ‘Revolution of Dignity’.

I have to say I have a slight girl-crush on Aya Chebbi, a young Tunisian woman of great courage and audacity. After seeing a clip of her speech at this years UN Women’s event ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality’, I thought to myself ‘this is what the world needs more of’. As a young woman growing up in today’s world I am constantly being told that my generation is the one that is going to have to fix everything, deal with the effects of global warming and try to make sure we don’t all kill each other in the process! So when I see Aya stand up and tell her story, along with other young women like Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson,  it lights a fire within me, it makes me think that we have a chance and these are the type of women who will lead us.

Following Tunisia’s revolution, Aya has been widely speaking about global social movements for conferences and rallies in United States, Canada, Poland, Turkey, Kenya and many other countries. She has also been blogging for international platforms and networks such as Your Middle East, World Pulse, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Women Living Under Muslim Laws, and the Voice of Youth.  In her blogs, she has written many articles with a keen focus on women’s rights, social movements, international relations, peace and conflicts with emphasis on the MENA region and Africa.

In 2010, we revolted for dignity and freedom.  We were the spark of an uprising the world propagated as the Arab Spring.  But we call it “the Revolution of Dignity”. Young women like me took to the streets, unafraid to die.  When I reflect on the past 4 years, I recognize the boldness of my generation to shape our destiny and that of future generations.
Tunisian Women
Tunisian women actively participating in the Revolution. Aya Chebbi is the woman on the left. Photo credit: Tribunal of first instance. BeB Nnet 18/7/2011. Yassine Gaidi photography, all rights reserved.

In her 4-minute speech at the 2015 UN Women’s event Aya speaks passionately about rewriting history to make it right for future generations, that we are the generation that can make a real difference!

Young women like myself have taken to the streets, unafraid to die for freedom…. When I reflect on the past four years, I recognise the boldness of my generation which shaped its own destiny and that of future generations…. Through the efforts and sacrifices of young women, our mark upon dignity and equality shall not go unrecognised. Our experiences shall not go unnoticed…. We shall continue to be on the front line.

Aya is also one of the founders of  The Voice of Women Initiative (VOW Initiative), a women-led initiative that explores the power of the web in empowering women through education, eradicating poverty and sharing a global voice of women and girls from different parts of the world. Women like Aya and the other wonderful women who founded VOW are setting an example for us all, demonstrating that it is not about where you come from, but who you are as a person and what you stand for. When we come together collectively around the world, our voices are heard and change is made.

Aya Chebbi’s speech at the UN Women’s event ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality

To follow and see more of Aya’s work check out her blog.

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

Grace O'Keeffe

Studying European Law, passionate about writing about the problems that her generation faces today




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