Casablanca - In the aftermath of the government nomination, civil associations working for gender equality have expressed their discontent over the underrepresentation of women in the current governmental configuration, which includes solely one female minister.
Casablanca – In the aftermath of the government nomination, civil associations working for gender equality have expressed their discontent over the underrepresentation of women in the current governmental configuration, which includes solely one female minister.
A day before the official appointment ceremony, the vice president of the Democratic Association for Moroccan Women (DAMW), Ms Amina Lotfi, sent the head of government, Mr. Abdelilah Benkirane, an open letter. In her letter, Ms Lotfi wished the emerging government success in its mission and lists a number of expectations regarding women’s rights.
She confirms that the new constitution consolidates women’s rights through the prohibition of gender based discrimination and the promulgation of new laws liable to reinforce equality in fundamental liberties and basic civil rights. She asserts that the new constitution stipulates the implementation of affirmative actions in order to eradicate biased practices that impede women’s full emancipation. Those new regulations are expected to address gender inequality in the private realm as well as the public domain and decision making.
Ms. Lotfi makes it clear that “the Moroccan Women Democratic Association expects the new government to implement the constitutional provisions related to gender equality through the promulgation of public laws”
She reiterates her hope that the new government would honor Morocco’s commitment to the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, taking into account Moroccan women yearning for freedom, dignity and equity, which constitute the pillars of citizenship and democracy.
The vice president of DAMW looks ahead to the government to adopt the “Governmental Agenda for equality” ratified in March 2011 as the minimal threshold and a starting point in the struggle against gender based discrimination.
Ms Lotfi’s emphatic tone on the promotion of gender equality conceals a deep unrest towards the access of Islamists to power. Women’s rights activists and secular feminists fear any regression in women’s rights that may ensue if a narrow view of the Sharia law is implemented.
The PJD has always been labeled as a moderate party in contrast with more hard line Islamist groups. Yet, Mr. Benkirane’s inclusive discourse that preaches tolerance fails to ease amounting fears among human rights activists who may emerge as the new opposition pole facing the PJD’s dominated government. Between ideological disparities, pressing social issues and the leftist factions courting the 20th February movement activists, Mr. Benkirane’s ship seems to be caught in stormy waters.
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