By Abderrahmane Boulmani
By Abderrahmane Boulmani
Tantan, Morocco – On the occasion of women’s international day, I would like to put pen to paper about the status of the Amazighi women in the past and present.
I strongly believe that women are our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. Thus, we should respect them and acknowledge their role in society. They should enjoy all their rights and be equal to men. But unfortunately, this is not the case of Moroccan women in general and Amazighi ones in particular. Moroccan women are still marginalized; their work and efforts are still invisible particularly that of the timazighin.
No one would deny that women in Morocco are still targets of sexual harassment as they are victims of both physical and mental abuse. But the status of timazighin (meaning woman in the Amazighi language) is very critical. The Moroccan Government intends to say that “all women are equal, but some women are more equal than others” to put in Orwell’s words.
To return to women some of their rights, the Kingdom established a new family code in 2004 after the national plan to integrate women in development in 2001. But what stands out is that only urban women benefited, if it can be claimed that there were any benefits, and rural women have continued suffering, or made to suffer. They drop out of schools when they are thirteen years of age, for the only reason that the state has not built middle schools in their regions. Worse off are those who reside in places without the minimum conditions deserving of human life. Geographical factors formed an alliance with the policy of the government and pushed the rural Amazighi women and girls to leave their families and go to urban areas to work as maids. As a result, many are sexually exploited and physically harmed.
If the new “modawana” states that women should not get married before the age of eighteen, timazighin are forced to marry at the ages of nine and ten. Moreover, the lack of hospitals causes either miscarriages or high rates of maternal mortality. One could not believe that Amazighi women are still deprived even of choosing names for their children.
Throughout the world women have restored many of their rights, but amazighi women are made to oppose the rule. While Arabs in the pre-Islamic used to bury girls alive, imazighn crowned the woman and made her a queen. What is important is that women, in our culture, are the heads of their families. The equivalent of woman in tamazight is “tamghart”, which is similar to the word “amghar”, which means the chief of the tribe. She is the responsible for the home and all of the family affairs, while the only mission of “argaz”, the man, is to provide income.
To summarize, Moroccan women suffer hardships just as others in many parts of the world. But double standard treatments in our land have made the situation of Amazighi woman even worse.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Abderrahmane boulmani is a teacher of English in Tantan, Sothern Morocco. He has a B.A in English studies from faculty of letter and human sciences at the University of Ibn Zoher, Agadir. He is interested in cultural and social studies. He writes and advocates for the Amazigh cause. ([email protected])
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
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