By Abdelhak Ammari
By Abdelhak Ammari
Rabat – Different voices call for individuals, both men and women, to participate in the coming Moroccan municipal elections. Unfortunately, no one has pointed out the fact that it is impossible for an illiterate individual to understand the meaning and the purpose of an election.
Joshua Cohen (1996, 95) said, “political citizenship – the right to vote and hold office – is a cornerstone of democratic theory and practice”. Cohen’s words are very clear. They allude to the idea that a society where individuals, whatever their gender, have the right to vote and are free to hold office, is worthy to be labeled democratic. In such a society, individuals can choose a candidate who proffers the most promising program, or they can abstain from voting if they are unhappy with their choices.
Article 30 of the Moroccan constitution states that all citizens, male or female, have the right to vote and that voting is a personal right and a national duty.
Morocco’s upcoming local elections are very controversial. Some tend to say that women have to be present in the coming elections in different ways. For example, some believe that the language used in political campaigns must be reformed when referring to male and female candidates. Others assert that women must participate in working at polling stations and manage electoral processes. These demands seem to be very superficial and cannot contribute to the reinforcement of democracy in Morocco at all.
The rate of illiteracy in Morocco is high, especially in rural areas, and it affects women in particular. Being illiterate, women do not understand the role politics play in human life, and they do not understand the programs proffered by candidates, if there are any.
Equally important, though these illiterate women vote, they often do not freely choose their candidates. This comes from the pressure they receive from their husbands, brothers, and fathers, compelling them to vote for the person the men supports so that they can achieve their own objectives.
If we are determined to organize fair elections, all individuals must be aware of these processes. The best way to achieve this is through education. We need to educate all women, and they must understand the importance of participating in politics. I can substantiate my argument with the words of Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi and Valentine M. Moghadam, who convincingly contend, “educated women are more politically active and better informed about their legal rights and how to exercise them.'
Though the language used during elections says that they exist to serve both men and women, and officials say women are given more opportunities to participate in the management of the coming or any elections, fair and democratic elections can not be reached due to the prevalence of illiteracy of women. Moroccan individuals must be conscious of the meaning of political citizenship, a value that cannot be achieved without education.
 “Political Citizenship and Democratization: The Gender Paradox”. Eileen MacDonagh. American Political Science Review. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 96, No. 3 (Sep., 2002), pp. 535-552
 “Empowering Women, Developing Society: Female Education in the Middle East and North Africa”. Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi and Valentine M. Moghadam. Population Reference Bureau
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