A report on women’s progress in Morocco by the first woman mayor of Marrakesh, Fatima Zahra Mansouri:
Watching the U.S. primary race unfold, offering the historic possibility of the first woman president, I have been reflecting on how dramatically women have benefitted from democratic progress in my own country, Morocco.
Of course, women in Morocco, like women in all societies of the world, are still fighting for equality; and believe me, the road is long. But Morocco recognized long ago that women represent half the potential of the country, and that protecting and expanding their rights is essential to the successful and peaceful evolution of our country. More than 10 years ago, we changed our family law, the Moudawana, to provide enhanced rights to women in marriage. It raised the legal age of marriage for women to 18; it abolished man’s right to renounce his wife simply by saying “I divorce you”; it gave women the right to initiate divorce; it provided them property rights in a divorce; and it gave them the right to engage in commerce and conduct business without spousal consent.
Now, there are laws that are the result of a cultural evolution, and there are laws that engender such an evolution. The Moudawana was definitely among the latter. It was a huge advance for Moroccan women, who, with this change, were able to become masters of their own destiny. There have been many other advances, as well, including expansion of schooling for girls in rural areas and increased access to higher education. And Morocco’s 2011 Constitutional reform solidified our country’s commitment to women’s rights by institutionalizing parity…[FULL STORY]