Women & Politics in Morocco

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Information about Women & Politics in Morocco
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Published on January 24, 2009

Author: s.mohamed

Source: authorstream.com

Slide 1: Women & Politics in Morocco The Outline : The Outline Introduction Historical Background The Protectorate Phase (1912-1956) The State-building Phase (1956-1970s) The Liberalisation Phase (1980s) The Democratisation Phase (1990s Onwards) Women in the Political Life Women in the Socio-Cultural Life Women in the Family Code Women in Non-For-Profit Organizations Conclusion Introduction : Introduction Only by 1993 did Moroccan women’s integration into politics come about as two women entered parliament. The history of women’s political striving has been marked by the promotion of their legal rights within family and well backed up by non-for-profit organisations. Politics is not merely conceptualised as partaking in the legislature; it also encompasses informal, personal participation in civil-society activism. Women in Morocco do not constitute a homogeneous entity; they are divided robust social factors: class, education level, geographical origin (urban/rural), job opportunity and marital statues (2003). Historical Background : Historical Background The Protectorate Phase (1912-1956) Moroccan women’s own concerns during the Protectorate did not amount to a top priority not only due to the French colonialism, but owing to the Moroccan nationalists, too. The earliest women’s political organisation took shape within political parties: the 1944 Women’s Section of the Istiqlal Party, the 1944 Union of Moroccan Women (set up by the Communist Party), and 1946 Akhawat al-Safaa. Famous names included Malika al-Fassi and Lalla Radia Ouzzani Chafdi: the former was the only woman to sign the Manifesto of Independence on January 11th, 1944; the latter, illiterate as she was, offered so substantial a help to educate poor women, funding them and building a Fez-based high school for them. Historical Background (Cont.) : Historical Background (Cont.) The State-building Phase (1956-1970s) Mohamed V established a commission of male Ulamas, headed by Allal al-Fassi, to codify the Personal Status Code. The codified Mudawana proved “outrageously disadvantageous to women, particularly in matters relating to marriage, divorce and inheritance” (Sadiqi 2004). Together with the Personal Code, there appeared state feminism, a “friendly” relationship between the state and women that conferred on women rights to education, political participation and work. State feminism fostered the already culturally robust roles of women as stay-at-home mothers and wives, Qiwama and Ta’a . Historical Background (Cont.) : Historical Background (Cont.) The Liberalisation Phase (1980s) Within these 1980s women’s voices, distinction is drawn between two movements: one promoted social equity through party politics and another pointed up the gender issue and the singularity of women’s demands. Out of the latter grouping emerged a strong civil society with pioneering associations such as L’Association Marocaine des Femmes Democrats, L’Action Feminine and Jossour. In 1983, the first feminist journals came out, seriously addressing gender issues. Conspicuous instances are Lamalif and Thamanya Mars. Historical Background (Cont.) : Historical Background (Cont.) The Democratisation Phase (1990s Onwards) There has been a dramatic increase in women’s civil-society activism, aspiring for legal and protective right; battling illiteracy, in rural areas in particular; and cementing awareness to women’s question. The upshot of such a feminist civil-society rise is the 1992 act of one million signatures collected by L’Action Feminine that resulted in the 1992 amendment of the Family Code by King Hassan II Still a spectacular breakthrough is the groundbreaking 2004 Family Code following King Mohamed VI’s historic 2003. The Moroccan political spectrum has been marked by women’s increasing participation in the political life. Women in the Political Life : Women in the Political Life 1992: Two women were elected members of parliament, both of whom were adherents to two parties which were the then opposition: the Socialist Party and the Independence Party. 1997: The First four women to accede to the Moroccan government were designated by the late Hassan II as Secretaries of States in a thirty-member cabinet. 2ooo: Following a government reshuffle, the first woman minister was designated after fifty-four years of independence; was responsible of Women’s Issues, Childhood and the Handicapped. Women in the Political Life : Women in the Political Life 1992: Two women were elected members of parliament, both of whom were adherents to two parties which were the then opposition: the Socialist Party and the Independence Party. 1997: The First four women to accede to the Moroccan government were designated by the late Hassan II as Secretaries of States in a thirty-member cabinet. 2ooo: Following a government reshuffle, the first woman minister was designated after fifty-four years of independence; she was responsible of Women’s Issues, Childhood and the Handicapped. Also unprecedented in 2000 was the assignment of three female ambassadors. Women in the Political Life (Cont.) : Women in the Political Life (Cont.) Oct. 2002: So Substantial a governmental and party support was rallied implement a quota system in the parliamentary elections: Accordingly, thirty women were elected in the legislatures, plus five more directly elected. Sept. 2002: Three women were designated in the government, taking posts of Family, Immigration, and Illiteracy and Non-Formal Education. 2003: 6024 women announced their candidacies in the municipal elections, only 127 of whom were elected. Several women’s rights devotees largely regarded the elections’ results as catastrophic in that the 127 elected women merely constituted 0.55% out of a total of 22816. Women in the Political Life (Cont.) : Women in the Political Life (Cont.) 2007: The parliamentary elections conformed to the quota system (thirty seats for women) introduced prior to 2002 elections; four more were directly elected, making the female MPs’ number in the House of Representatives thirty four. The current Fassi-led government comprises on an unprecedented scale seven ministers: Amina Benkhadra, Yasmina Baddou, Nawal el Moutawakil, Nouzha Skalli, Touriya Jabrane, Latifa Akherbach and Latifa Labida. Nov. 2008: The King Mohamed VI assigned five women ambassadors: Aziza Limame, Karima Benyaich, Mina Tounsi, Oumama Aouad Laarechand Raja Ghannam. Women in the Political Life (Cont.) : Women in the Political Life (Cont.) Oct. 19th 2008: The Monarch called on both the government and Parliament to constructively cooperate to put forward sensible mechanisms to ensure that a larger number of women would stand as candidates and be elected to local councils. The principal purpose, the King remarked, “is to make sure women are fairly represented in local governments, and to enable local councils to benefit from the contributions of competent Moroccan women who are known for their integrity, pragmatism and concern for social well-being.” Oct. 28th 2008: Moroccan women MPs called for the elaboration of a bill to strengthen women's political participation and safeguard the right to equality, proposing that the bill should amend the electoral code so that women constitute one third of seats in the approaching 2009 municipal elections. Women in the Socio-Cultural Life : Women in the Socio-Cultural Life Women in the Family Code Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) : Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) The significant changes the novel Mudawana brought about can be outlined as follows: Equality of the spouses’ rights and obligations: family is regarded under the responsibility of both the husband and the wife.   Reinforcement of the tribunal’s part in marriage and divorce: couples must go to the court before contracting marriage and when suing for divorce. Annulment of tutorship (or guardianship) for women: a woman can at present marry without any authorisation from her father. Regulation of divorce by the Ministry of Justice: the judge in the Family Court is in charge of divorce; a husband cannot divorce his wife for any reason he pleases. Equal sharing of the property: the possessions amassed by a household during marriage must be shared between spouses in case of divorce. Women’s right to custody over their children even though they marry anew: a mother in the old Mudawana loses custody once they re-marry. Protection of children’s rights: such a fundamental item was overlooked by the old Mudawana. Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) : Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) Considerable as the foregoing changes might appear, the new Mudawana, Moroccan feminists maintain, is not that revolutionary, pinpointing certain imperfections and limitation (Ennaji 2004). Albeit drastically restricted, polygamy, they note, is still legally held.  Divorce by compensation is still sustained; if a wife desires divorce, she must financially compensate her husband. The distribution of property built up during marriage is problematic in that the relative contract is not mandatory. A mother loses custody over her offspring aged over seven years old once she re-marries. A father in case of divorce remains the legal tutor for children although their mother has custody over them. “Inequality” in inheritance still persists inasmuch as a woman inherits half of a man’s portion. Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) : Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) Women in Non-For-Profit Organisations From 1970s onwards, Moroccan women’s non-for-profit organisations have occupied a central part in the democratisation and modernisation of society, sternly criticising the decision- and -policy makers’ inattention to women’s demands for gender equity and liberation. In the wake of 1990s constitutional and election reforms, there came into being several women’s associations impacting dramatically upon regional and national politics (e.g. L’ Association Marocaine des Femmes Democrats, L’ Action Féminine and Jossour). Their raison d'être is to economically and socially emancipate women and integrate them in decision-making and public affairs. Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) : Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) Charitably funded by the European Commission, World Bank and UNESCO, they have organised numerous seminars and workshops on substantial issues like domestic violence, fund-raising, illiteracy and information technology to empower women. Amongst the most prominent women activists are Leila Rhiwi, L’ Espace Associatif Marocain (the Moroccan Societal Space), and Latifa Jbadi, L’ Action de l’ Union des Femmes (the Action of Women’s Union). A distinction can be located between groupings of non-for-profit organisations in Morocco: one concentrates on service provision, filling the gaps left by the state’s deficient economic and social structures; another focuses on advocacy and lobbying, striving for the values of democracy and human rights (Ennaji 2004). Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) : Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) Still, certain non-for-profit groups (e.g. L’ Union de L’Action Feminine (the Union of Feminine Action)) merge both approaches, offering counselling for women victims of domestic violence and concurrently lobbying for legislative change to ensure better protection of women’s right. Non-for-profit bodies have got to remarkable realisations: the ratification of CEDAW (Convention for Eliminating Discrimination against Women) by Morocco (1993), the cancellation of the husband’s authorisation for women to practise a trade activity (1995) or for the signature of a work contract in 1996, the revision of the penal and work codes (2003) and most outstandingly, is the reform of the Mudawana (2003). Women’s non-for-profit groups do still have further demands that seek to ameliorate women’s living standards and set up gender equality in all realm of life. Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) : Women in the Socio-Cultural Life (Cont.) They, by way of illustration, call for the institutionalisation of the quota system alongside its introduction within political parties, encourage women to run for office whenever possible and foster women’s promotion in administrations. Conclusion : Conclusion Moroccan women’s struggle for gender equity has been by virtue of their involvement in socio-political affairs and the proliferation of numerous female-led associations. Women’s activism gains adequate training in governance and leadership that helps in sharpening their professionalism. Feminine association do still strive for a complete integration of women in all spheres of power to build and spread a culture of democracy and human rights. References : References Ennaji, Moha (2004). “Moroccan Women and Development” in Sadiqi, Fatima (ed.). Femmes Mediterraneennes. Fez: Fez-Saiss Publications, pp. 39-46. Ennaji, Moha (2005). “Women’s NGOs and Social Change in Morocco” in Sadiqi, Fatima (ed.). Femmes Mediterraneennes et leur Droits. Fez: Fez-Saiss Publications, pp. 81-91. Naciri, R. (2003). “The Women’s Movements in the Maghreb with Emphasis on Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria” in al-Raida. Beirut: p. 21. Sadiqi, Fatima (2005). “Women and Politics in Morocco” in Sadiqi, Fatima (ed.). Femmes Mediterraneennes et leur Droits. Fez: Fez-Saiss Publications, pp. 59-80. Sadiqi, Fatima (2003). Women, Gender and Language in Morocco. Leiden; Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. References : References Fakhry,Majid. A Short Introduction to Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism. Oxford: One World, 1997. Leaman, Oliver. Brief Introduction to Islamic Philosophy. Oxford: Polity Press, 1999. Leaman, Oliver. Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Nasr, Seyyed H., and Oliver Leaman, eds. History of Islamic Philosophy. London: Routledge, 1996. Thank You

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