Researchers observed an upward trend of violence against women in Morocco during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Rabat – COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate gender inequality in Morocco, according to a report released earlier this week. Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP), the UN System in Morocco, and the World Bank co-authored the report.
Titled “A Strategic Note on the Economic and Social Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the report noted that as the pressure on health systems increases with rising cases of the virus, the burden of home care increases.
That burden falls largely on the shoulders of Moroccan women.
During the four months of lockdown, women on average spent six times more than men tending to domestic work.
The data shows that the average daily time for household chores during the confinement — such as cooking, washing dishes, and laundry — averaged 2 hours and 37 minutes. That reflects an increase of 33 minutes per day prior to the onset of COVID-19.
Though the data reveals how women play an important role in household management, gender inequality in Morocco leads to a lack of women in the public sphere.
Therefore, the report called for the involvement of Moroccan women in decision-making. It also suggests the development of support programs to promote gender equality in financial measures.
Gender inequality in Morocco is most prevalent in economic life. Moroccan women’s participation in economic life was a mere 22% in 2018, compared to 48% globally, according to the same report.
To combat this issue, the report recommends a direct transfer of funds to women working in the unstructured sector to boost their economic participation.
Moreover, it noted that small, medium, and emerging women-led enterprises and cooperatives need support by strengthening their capacity and market access, particularly during periods of restrictions on mobility.
Read also: HCP: 45% of Moroccan Men Help With Housework
According to WHO, one in three women globally experiences physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. “Gender inequality and social norms that condone violence, childhood experiences of abuse or exposure to violence and coercive control growing up,” are factors that lead to domestic violence.
Stressful situations and economic instability, such as those experienced in Morocco during the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbate the risk and increase the prevalence of gender inequality.
As a result of lockdown measures, Moroccans spent more time cooped up in their households during the four-month period. This led to an increase in domestic violence, according to the report’s data.
Prior to the confinement, 52% of women in Morocco reported experiencing domestic violence, or 6.1 million women. However, during the confinement period, researchers observed an upward trend.
Moreover, the lockdown and social distancing measures have made it harder for women and children to reach out to family, friends, or health workers who could otherwise provide support and protection.
The report recommends Morocco consider innovative tools to protect women and girls from violence in the home.
The report highlighted the important roles women play in their homes, communities, and society at large.
In order to address gender inequality in Morocco, it stressed the importance of including and strengthening women’s voices in the search for a response to the crisis.