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Tunisia: the nations first banknote starring a woman

The Tunisian central bank has introduced a new 10 dinar banknote, with the great distinction of being stamped with a portrait of a... woman. A first in the country!

Her name is Tawhida Ben Sheikh and she is a pioneer of medicine in the Arab world, born in 1909 and passing in 2010. She debuted her professional career as a doctor, then became a pediatrician, and finished as a gynecologist…remembered to this day as the first Muslim woman to have practiced those professions. She was also the first Tunisian woman to obtain her baccalaureate in the year of 1929.

The Tunisian government decided to honor her by featuring her on their 10 dinar banknotes. Since the 27th of March, the brand-new currency has been issued into circulation by the Tunisian central bank.

Tawhida Ben Sheikh has been committed to defending women and children’s right her whole life.

An engaged woman

The symbolism is powerful. Tawhida Ben Sheikh, beyond the exceptional dimensions of her professional career, made waves as an early activist, fighting for women’s and children’s rights in Tunisia. In fact, after managing Leila, the country’s first feminist magazine, she materialized her commitment to granting women access to contraception and abortion, by founding the first reproductive health clinic in the country.

“Dr. Tawhida Ben Cheikh was chosen last year, to pay tribute to her and Tunisian women at large, particularly those working in the scientific sector,” explained Abdelaziz Ben Saïd of the Tunisian Central Bank.

Although the decision was made over a year ago, it seems particularly fitting that in times like these, we pay tribute to a key member of the medical field.