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Tunisian women break taboo saying no to children

A women's association in the Tunisian countryside works on breaking the societal taboo of women remaining childless by choice.
A mother and her child walk in a street of "La Medina" in cental Tunis on January 21, 2011. Tunisia began national mourning Friday for the dozens killed in its revolution, a week after the ouster of veteran ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, as new protests called for the old regime to be destroyed. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU        (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

“Having children is something like a visual tag in Tunisia. If you walk in the street alone with your husband and you don’t have a child who completes the ‘frame,’ people would ask, ‘When are you going to have children? Why don’t you have children? How is your health? Are you OK?’ Something is missing for them in the picture,” Nacyb Allouchi told Al-Monitor.

Allouchi is a 34-year-old woman originally from Ain Draham, a mountain town in the governorate of Jendouba, in northwestern Tunisia. Since getting married, she has been living in Jendouba, her husband’s town, which has around 50,000 residents and is considered a conservative town in the Tunisian countryside, not far from the Algerian border. In 2013, Allouchi co-founded Rayhana, an association for women in Jendouba.

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