Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Future of the Women's Movement in Morocco

For the past twenty years Moroccan women, from the liberal camp to the Islamist, have campaigned for equal rights for women. Their struggle has borne many triumphs and is gradually beginning to change the lives of women throughout the country. But how will they face the new challenges presented by Morocco's first Islamist-majority government? A major article by Heidi Basch-Harod, a research assistant at the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, has just been published on the Open Democracy website.

In the article Ms Basch-Harod acknowledges that "overall, the vibrant women’s movement of Morocco in the past 20 years has been a unique example of dynamic dialogue between diverse women’s groups along the religious-secular political spectrum."

Fatima Sadiqi
Basch-Harod quotes Fatima Sadiqi, founder and president of the Centre for Research on Women in Fez, claims that the decentralisation of power in the 1990s contributed to progress for women, as they increasingly travelled abroad, were exposed to different media sources, and began to be politically engaged in the burgeoning debate on religion and women. In Morocco, treatment of women is rooted as much in Islam as it is in social notions and customs, or clan traditions. For these reasons, Sadiqi believes that the Moroccan women’s movement has been at the cutting edge of “reform, engaging Islamisation, modernisation, democratisation, and feminism.” Consequently, the unique combination of religious and secular women, the shrewd calculations of political parties, and the significant role of Morocco’s “first feminist” King Mohammed VI, are what Sadiqi attributes to having ushered in the era of sociopolitical change for the women of Morocco.

The gains that women have made in Morocco over the previous two decades can be attributed to consensus among the camps of the women's movement that genuine change regarding the status of women must be legitimate in the eyes of the people. Nevertheless, the women’s movement of Morocco has pursued a path of legitimate reform, taking into account the particular socio-cultural and religious realities of this specific North African country. Ultimately, in the Moroccan women’s movement, there is a belief in the democratic process and women, from the liberal-secularist to the Islamist, see themselves as nonnegotiable partners in its pursuit. Hopefully in the months to come, the spirit of cooperation will prevail and encourage honest negotiation and democratic compromise on the sensitive points of departure between the women of Morocco.

Read the full article here: Uncertainty for the future of the Moroccan women’s movement.

From the Minister

Moroccan minister of solidarity, woman, family and social development Bassima Hakkaoui said, on Tuesday in New York, that Morocco’s new Constitution provides many opportunities for the empowerment of women. Hakkaoui told the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which opened on Monday at the UN headquarters, that Morocco witnessed the democratic momentum triggered by the Arab Spring in accordance with its own specificity reflected by the broad political and national consensus, with the reform process crowned by a new Constitution which anchored a new democratic rights-based era.

Indeed, the Minister said, the new Constitution provides, from the preamble, for the fight against all forms of discrimination, noting, in this regard, that the government platform “is an action plan which reflects the provisions” of the Constitution.

This action plan includes, among other things, strengthening women’s representation in all fields as a priority step towards combating discrimination, exclusion and marginalization, through measures promoting gender equality and equality between women as a whole, both in urban and rural areas, the minister said. She stressed that Morocco, aware of the vital role played by rural women in sustainable development, adopted a result-, indicator-based approach for the next five years.

Hakkaoui insisted that Morocco was among the first Arab countries to have set the economic empowerment of rural women as a lever for their emancipation. The minister noted that the National Initative for Human Development (INDH), launched in 2005 with the aim of reducing poverty, social exclusion and vulnerability, is based on an essential frame of reference, namely that “the human being is the core of development”. (MAP)

Fatima Sadiqi - Fatima Sadiqi has written extensively on Moroccan languages and Moroccan women’s issues. She founded the Centre for Studies and Research on Women at the University of Fes. She is currently President and Founder of the ISIS Center for Women and Development and is Editor-in-Chief of Languages and Linguistics. Her books include Women, Gender, and Language in Morocco (2003), Migration and Gender in Morocco (2008), and Women as Agents of Change in the Middle East and North Africa (Routledge, 2009). Professor Sadiqi serves on the editorial board of the journal Gender and Language.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Je ne me fais aucune illusion sur l'avenir du statut de la femme au Maroc et dans les pays musulmans. Son statut est une insulte à l'humanité et ce n'est pas avec des colloques universitaires que l'on arrache ses droits. Est-ce que ce n'est pas une honte qu'une seule femme figure dans le nouveau gouvernement ?
Bonne journée!