TUNIS, Tunisia — On a chilly January morning at his modest villa outside Tunis, Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia's pro-Islamic Ennahda party, opened the conversation with an ode to women.
“I bet on women," he said in an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor. "I am surrounded by women. My wife decides everything.” Ghannouchi's wife is an English literature graduate, and the couple's four daughters were trained in turn as a lawyer, an astrophysicist, a sociologist and a journalist. Three of them hold doctoral degrees, and all were educated in the West. Flanked by a pair multilingual female associates, the 77-year-old Muslim intellectual shared a couch with this female reporter after firmly shaking her hand.