Moroccan Women Cling to Article 19 of the Constitution on Gender Equality
Goulmima- It is the new millennium and Morocco has experienced radical change at different levels. minorities gained new rights and emerging social groups openly claimed their place in the Moroccan society.
Women’s struggle for plain and equal recognition in Morocco continues to occupy public opinion, especially after the passage of the 2011 constitution, where article 19 clearly calls for gender equality and yet the implementation of which is taking very slow steps.
A number of Moroccan women associations are now rolling up their sleeves for another round on April 13th in Rabat to raise their demands. A video released on YouTube by the Civil Coalition for the Implementation of Article 19 in the Moroccan Constitution features a number of Moroccan artists, housewives, students, and teachers calling for Moroccan men and women to join the march on April 13th in order to shift the government’s attention towards the necessity to implement the unprecedented article 19 in Morocco’s 2011 constitution, which openly recognizes gender equality among Moroccan citizens.
The women in the video communicated their message in Tamazight (including its three dialects) and Arabic:
Bouazzaoui Farida, a Moroccan artist who is featured in the video, says “I will join the march on April 13th because there are many educated Moroccan women who are qualified for higher positions but remain marginalized.”
Badrya El Hassani, a Moroccan artist, added “I am a female Moroccan citizen and I will join the march on April 17th because I felt bad when I learned that 62% of Moroccan women are victims of physical violence.”
Fatima Outarhat, a freelancer journalist, said: “I will participate in the March on April 17th because we want hospitals where women can deliver, it is a shame and a disgrace for women to give birth to their children in hallways.”
Article 19 of the constitution states:
“Men and women have equal civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms as listed in this article and in the rest of the constitution as well as the conventions and international treaties duly ratified by Morocco in conformity with the constitution’s provisions and the kingdom’s constants and its laws. The state shall work towards the establishment of parity between men and women. Therefore, it has assigned a specialized authority to ensure parity between men and women and fight against all forms of discrimination.”
The Coalition for the Implementation of Article 19 launched a petition on March 17th asking the head of parliament to consider the full implementation of article 19. The petition has collected 1,108 signatures, aiming at 2000. The petition provides a description of the incentives that made the coalition take this initiative, claiming that “Moroccan women face discrimination on a daily basis in terms of judiciary, illiteracy, unequal salaries, precarious situation, physical, sexual and psychological violence, in addition to the limited access to: health care, employment, property ownership, positions of responsibility, elected office, and the continuous promotion of sexist stereotypes. We strongly demand from the Moroccan government, which continues to ignore the various cases representing Moroccan feminist movements, to assume its responsibility to implement the provisions of Article 19 of the constitution in accordance with its prerogatives and obligations granted by the constitution.”
The coalition calls for immediate implementation of gender mainstreaming authority that is mentioned in the constitution and which has not been instituted, the promulgation of the law that eradicates gender violence in order to protect women’s human rights, the establishment of new public policies to protect the economic and social rights of women and also guarantee better female representation and decision-making positions.
Edited by Jessica Rohan
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