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Study Finds a Growing Trend of Single Women in Morocco

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Rabat – A report by Family Optimise, a British NGO that studies daily life and its patterns, has recently released a study that indicates an increasing of women in Morocco are choosing to remain single until later in life, with over 60 percent of women at a marriageable age said to be single and more career-oriented.

The British NGO indicates that the figures capture a slow but assured change in some formerly entrenched social practices, especially with regards to traditional notions of the “rightful place of women in society.”

The number of single women has increased by 4.6 percent, says Family Optimise, adding that a whopping 60 percent of Moroccan women–approximately 8 million women–are single or ‘unmarried.’

By and large, the study’s results suggest that Moroccan women are increasingly inclined to marry in their late twenties or early thirties, with many of them valuing their personal careers, and saying that a late marriage is usually a springboard to a successful and “fulfilled personal and family life,” particularly when it comes to raising children with an education that can guarantee them success later in life.

Commenting on the trend, Moroccan newspaper Al Ahdath Al Magrhibia reports that the results place Morocco in the category of countries in the Arab world where there are discernible steps to challenge societal notions and taboos regarding gender and society.

The newspaper documents that with 60 percent in Morocco, only Lebanon and Iraq (85%) and Tunisia (81%) outperform the Kingdom in the now-growing trend of single women. Lagging behind are Saudi Arabia (36%) and Qatar (41%).

Perhaps even more surprisingly, Al Ahdath Al Magrhibia further reports that as things now stand in Morocco, marriage is 27 for men and 28 for women, indicating the fading or waning weight or families and tradition on decisions concerning private and intimate choices, explains the newspaper. Estimates also reveal that interfamilial marriages have drastically decreased, dropping from 33 percent to 21 percent.

The trend is confirmed by the latest statistics from the High Commissioner for Planning (HCP) which found that the country has been experiencing a considerable decrease in the number and practice of early marriages. According to HCP, Morocco’s average marriage age is now 26, up from 20. The same source also indicated that this new trend has been a driving force in decreasing Morocco’s fertility or reproduction rate.

“Mentalities are changing” the report concluded, explaining that as result of advanced education, Moroccan women are growing to be more assertive and expressive: they want to be present as integral part in the public debate and shape society, not just as mothers or daughters, but rather as financially autonomous and politically independent individuals.

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