Rabat - It was not just a saying when they claimed, “March is the month of women.” Moroccan women seem to take this month seriously, making it a women’s month par excellence.
Rabat – It was not just a saying when they claimed, “March is the month of women.” Moroccan women seem to take this month seriously, making it a women’s month par excellence.
A few days after honoring Princess Lalla Salma as the most inspiring woman for Arabs, along with a number of significant women in different fields, Moroccan media proudly circulated the news of the selection of Mayor Fatima-Zahra Mansouri of Marrakech to join the 2014 Young Global Leaders Forum.
The forum, an initiative by World Economic Forum, will host around 214 candidates under the age of 40 from 66 countries, among which 109 are women. Seven regions will be represented by significant leaders, 18 of which were selected from the MENA region, including two from Morocco: the mayor of Marrakech Fatima-Zahra Mansouri and the reporter Souad Mekhennet.
Fatima Zahra Mansouri is a young Moroccan politician and lawyer. An active member of the Authenticity and Modernity party, she was elected Mayor of Marrakech in 2009 after she won her seat at the City Council. Her campaign was extraordinary in the sense that she opted for a participatory approach and held weekly meetings with citizens, enabling her to better understand their needs.
As the first young female Moroccan mayor, at age 33, she is an impressive example of Morocco’s determination to bring about change and guarantee equal opportunities for women in the political arena.
As a woman in charge of a touristic imperial city like Marrakech, where projects often go rampant, she has taken a stern stance, once halting the spread of golf fields due to the city’s water problems. This decision stirred scathing criticism but she was very determined to serve her city’s best interests.
Thanks to her well- planned policies, the city “inherited a $90 million budget deficit in 2009, now has a surplus of about $130 million. Many credit the turnaround to the mayor’s crackdown on graft,” TimeWorld reported on its website.
From a woman succeeding a corrupt mayor, Marrakechi people had little to expect. However, after her assertive attitude towards corruption, people seemed to be pleased with the situation. “We didn’t expect much of her, but we have definitely seen a big drop in corruption,” says Abdelrahim Jeddi, a local lawyer for the Moroccan Association of Human Rights. Additionally, Hamid Bentahar, chairman of the Marrakech Tourism Council said that, “To have a young woman who is mayor has been very attractive for tourism” (TimeWorld).
A young leader like Fatima-Zahra Mansouri never hesitated to show her jovial side, celebrating life through art. During the 5th Marrakech biennale 2014, she was featured dancing with other artists. An official in her position publicly showing the expressive and fun side of her personality is not very common in a conservative country like Morocco.
Though she might be lucky to share kinship with the King’s friend, she manifested the will of an ordinary person who understands the people’s needs. Moroccans can, without hesitation, appreciate the efforts that Mansouri has been making to prove that she earned her status in the Moroccan society.
Edited by Melissa Smyth
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed