Are you trying to grasp the deeper meaning of this move made by the Tunisian government? Yes, it means that the country understands how “the future is female” and therefore its people will now get to see the picture of late doctor Tawhida Ben Cheikh – a pioneer in women’s medicine, on every ten dinar note.
Born in 1909, Tawhida became the first girl to pass the baccalaureate in Tunisia in 1928, and then booming with confidence, the iron-lady also went on to graduate from the faculty of medicine of Paris in 1936. The Tunisian doctor kept on practicing as a physician, pediatrician and gynecologist as well, only to end up as the first female doctor to practice modern medicine in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Ben Chick’s not-for-profit work also spoke highly about her caliber as she worked as the Vice-President of the Tunisian Red Crescent and as soon as Tunisia made family planning legal in 1973, she immediately founded the country’s first family planning clinic as well.
However, with all the success came struggles as well. After graduating in 1936, at the age of 27, Ben Cheikh first got the chance to head the maternity department of Charles-Nicolle hospital in Tunis long after in 1955. The journey of becoming the first woman to sit on the National Council of the Order of Physicians of Tunisia also got completed after a span of four years in 1959.
The announcement regarding the circulation of the new ten dinar banknote was made by Abdelaziz bin Said himself, Director of the Public Treasury of the Central Bank of Tunisia, who also revealed that the decision to put up Tawhida Ben Cheikh on the banknote was made almost a year ago, all with the aim to honor the contributions that women have been making in making Tunisia a progressive country.
Fun Fact: As Ben Cheikh has become the first female doctor to appear on a banknote, previously the same ten Tunisian dinar banknote had Dido, also known as Queen Elissa on it that made her the first female to get featured on a banknote around the world.