Women’s Rights in Morocco
Since Morocco gained its independence from France in 1956, there have been many changes to women’s rights. Across the nation, women continue to fight for their rights in legal, social, political and economic contexts. Although work remains, local organizations have made great strides in improving the status of women’s rights in Morocco.

Women’s Rights On Paper

Morocco’s Constitution addresses the issue of women’s rights. Article 19 of the 2011 Constitution states, “The man and the woman enjoy, in equality, the rights and freedoms of civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental character.” This is a general guarantee of gender and matrimonial equality. Moreover, there have been numerous other ratifications in the Moroccan legislature that correlate to this statement.

Moroccan women now have protections against male guardian requirements, rape-marriage allowances and sexual harassment. The government passed all of these laws after 2004, with one as recent as 2018. Yet, there are still a few loopholes in the legal system. For example, the Family Law allows forced marriage if a judicial waiver is provided. Many believe that there is still progress to be made.

Status of Women’s Rights in Morocco (Social Contexts)

While the Moroccan Constitution is promising and shows progression, conservative ideals remain common in social institutions. This includes the hierarchy of power held by males and gender-based discrimination. Socially, the need is the greatest for reform and change, which law or legislation do not often achieve.

Women are fighting for equality in Morocco today by seizing opportunities, including education, economic and financial freedom and leadership positions. By holding higher positions in society, these conservative assumptions may begin to dissipate in family and cultural contexts.

Status of Women’s Rights in Morocco (Political Contexts)

Women gained both the right to vote and the right to stand in an election on the same date in May 1963. The assumption of leadership by women is historical and considered to be a great gain for Moroccan women. Bassima Hakkaoui, a veiled political leader, is now in charge of the Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development. She is the first veiled woman to hold this position.

Unfortunately, most women struggle to gain access to political leadership positions today. As of 2018, only 81 out of 395 parliamentary members were held by women. This begs the question of whether Moroccan women can be accurately and meaningfully represented by their government voices. Many activists call for more female representation in parliament and other positions of power.

Status of Women’s Rights in Morocco (Economic Contexts)

According to USAID Morocco, ranks 141 out of 149 countries in women’s economic participation and opportunity. Women make up 50% of Morocco’s population but only 26% of the labor force. Also, the female labor force participation rate in Morocco decreased by 6% between 1999 and 2010. Moroccan women remain a largely untapped resource within the very borders of the country.

One of the results of the 2011 Constitution includes positive advancements in girls’ education. Increasing access and encouraging girls to finish school has led to more women contributing to the labor market and the economy. The accumulation of generational wealth is an example of this influence.

Fighting for Women’s Rights

To continue improving the status of women’s rights in Morocco, the strengthening of the justice system is crucial. Addressing social and cultural barriers is also important, as many gender limitations stem from conservative or patriarchal views.

Two notable organizations are fighting to raise the status of women’s rights in Morocco and both reside in Rabat. The Democratic Association for Moroccan Women and the Mobilizing for Rights Associates (MRA) work within the community and advocate for legal reforms. These reforms promote women’s social, economic and political equality, monitor international human rights compliance and assist women’s rights campaigns.

MRA also tracks the implementation of the newly signed Elimination of Violence Against Women law, which was recently enacted in September 2018. This law has shown the world that Morocco is willing to make progress in gender equality. Furthermore, it exemplifies the importance of these women’s rights organizations in making progress.

Moving Forward

Although Morocco has made improvements in women’s rights, work remains. Women across the country are continuing to fight for equality in all contexts. Moving forward, women’s rights organizations continue to advocate for the safety and liberty of all Moroccan women.

Savannah Gardner
Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in Morocco
Morocco gained independence in 1956 and now works under a monarchy. Today, Morocco has a population of more than 36 million and is known to many to be a beautiful and vibrant country with a rich history. However, there is much about the social culture of this country that people do not know. Morocco has long had political and social turmoil due to the lack of ability for people to protest the government. Here are three facts about human rights in Morocco and what is being done to improve the situation.

3 Facts About Human Rights in Morocco

  1. Freedom of Expression – In 2016, Morocco implemented The Press and Publications Code to eliminate using prison sentences as a punishment for non-violent speech and issue fines instead. However, this has not been upheld by the country’s penal code. In fact, some cases have seen increased prison sentences after peaceful participation in demonstrations against the government. Morocco has to begin working to reduce punishments inflicted on those who wish to peacefully speak out, and prison sentences given to activists as well as the fines, equivalent to $2,000 for social media posts by activists, should be removed from the law to truly promote human rights in Morocco.
  2. Freedom of Assembly – After imprisoning various activists for their demonstrations against the government concerning its treatment of the environment, the Moroccan government began slowly tolerating more marches. While this was a significant step, most protests were still forcibly dispersed, regardless of their peaceful nature, and people have still been imprisoned. The Moroccan Constitution promotes freedom of association and assembly; however, when The Moroccan Association of Human Rights has tried to hold events, there have been many obstacles in their path. Freedom of assembly in Morocco must be allowed to progress in order for the country to progress.
  3. Women’s Rights – In 2004, The Family Code was created to improve women’s rights in various scenarios considering divorce, child custody rights and inheritance. Furthermore, the Moroccan Constitution in 2011 actually states equality for women, but this is not yet the case. There are still many advancements to be made considering the discriminatory laws against women in regards to sex outside marriage and rape. In these cases, it is more common for women to face repercussions than men.
  4. Domestic Workers – In October 2018, there will be a new law implemented to assist domestic workers. Human rights in Morocco are expanding to set the minimum age for working at 18. Not only will this limit the age but the number of hours worked in a week will also be limited and a minimum wage will be set. While this is a step in the right direction, with poverty rampant in certain parts of Morocco, there are many children, mostly girls, that, undoubtedly, will have to continue to work.

While there are many areas in which Morocco needs to work on their goals to implement stronger human rights policies, there are many organizations that are working every day to strengthen Moroccan people.

3 Organizations Working To Promote Human Rights in Morocco

  1. National Human Rights Council (CNDH) – The National Human Rights Council is an organization that focuses on ending human rights violations by addressing and assuring freedoms in Morocco. Violations are monitored and investigations are conducted to deter future violations. Not only does the council have the power to investigate current issues but they also have the ability to inspect prisons and assure that conditions are satisfactory. As an organization, they have reported on issues such as gender equality, violence and reform.
  2. Moroccan Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Established in 2004, this commission has seventeen members and spends its efforts on reconciling past violations conducted in the Arab world. They assess the settlements needed for cases against human rights. Violations are graded and the victims are to be compensated adequately, depending on the severity of the violation.
  3. Women’s Rights and Gender Equality – While women’s rights in certain portions of the developing world have often been overlooked, in Morocco, they have become a lead focus for the government. The idea has been to change how women’s roles are viewed in society. The Moroccan government has been somewhat successful, which is demonstrably shown by the fact that 21 percent of women now hold office in The House of Representatives.

Morocco has undergone a significant transition in the recent years making human rights a forefront focus. There has been a transition. While there is much still to be done, Morocco has made changes that should and will improve its future.

– Kayleigh Mattoon
Photo: Flickr

A new plan was recently released to advance women’s rights in Morocco over the next four years. The plan, called “IKRAM,” will provide shelter for domestic violence victims, increase educational opportunities for girls, and increase the percentage of women in public office.

While the plan is commendable, some women’s rights activists believe it falls far short of what is necessary. Morocco reformed its family law in 2004, but many of these reforms are circumvented by conservative judges. Sex outside of marriage remains illegal.

The reform raised the legal age for marriage from 15 to 18, but according to 2010 data, courts have allowed minors to marry in 90% of cases. In 2012 the global community was shocked by the suicide of a young girl who was forced to marry her rapist by her parents and a conservative judge.

Advocates of women’s rights believe a pressing issue is amending the 475 law. The 475 law allows statutory rape charges to be dropped if the two individuals involved are married. This encourages rapists to marry their victims to avoid all charges. Conservative judges support this action as they believe it will save the girls’ honor. While there are rumors that the government will review the penal code, it is uncertain how they plan to approach it or if they will take women’s rights into consideration.

The government has set up a committee that will monitor IKRAM and ensure that its goals are met. This committee will monitor action across all ministries. The committee will also advocate legislation supporting women’s rights.

– Callie D. Coleman

Sources:Open Equal Free,New York Times,Al Monitor,All Africa
Photo: Monsite