The ambassador notes that Morocco is increasingly poised, under the guidance of the King, to address the systemic issues that Moroccan women face on a daily basis.
Rabat – Morocco has made progress on gender equality and other women-related issues, which continue to be “at the top of King Mohammed VI’s priorities,” according to Morocco’s ambassador to Spain.
Speaking on September 18 at a conference on female leadership and women empowerment in Segovia, northwest of Madrid, Ambassador Karima Benyaich underlined Morocco’s recent political and social reforms pertaining to gender equality and the reinforcement of the rule of law.
The meeting, organized by the Madrid-based IE Business School, sought to highlight both the progress made and the long road ahead for women’s empowerment movements in the world today.
In line with the conference’s theme, “Female leadership, the silent conquest,” Ambassador Benyaich stressed that while Morocco has not reached the level it aspires to in terms of gender equality, individual rights, and the broader consolidation of the rule of law, the country has made notable strides under the leadership of King Mohammed VI.
She further noted that Morocco is increasingly poised to address some of the most systemic issues that Moroccan women continue to face on a daily basis.
To illustrate her point about Morocco’s recent reforms to address gender-related disparities, the Moroccan diplomat pointed to advances made since the adoption of a new, liberal-leaning Constitution in 2011. Among other post-2011 reforms, she cited the new Family Code, the Nationality Code, and the Labor Code.
Part of the advances made possible with these reforms, she insisted, are increasing steps towards equal payment in professional settings, the right for women to seek a divorce, and the law on granting Moroccan nationality to foreign men married to Moroccan women.
She pointed to her own diplomatic career as an example of Morocco’s increasing embrace of female leadership and public visibility. Her argument is that another noticeable aspect of the country’s improving record on gender issues has to do with increased female participation in public affairs.
“The increase in the number of women holding positions of responsibility in the Moroccan administration, and in particular in diplomacy, perfectly reflects the dynamics in which Morocco is engaged,” Morocco’s state-owned media quoted the ambassador as saying.
Despite recent protests about the Moroccan social and political landscapes’ restrictions on individual liberties and women’s rights, the ambassador’s comments fall within the broader purview of the well-trodden idea that the country has indeed made some progress on a wide range of social issues.
Last year, the well-regarded lifestyle magazine Elle lauded Morocco’s efforts in advancing women’s rights.
With the country’s tradition of open, tolerant Islam, King Mohammed VI’s recent reforms have allowed a number of women clerics to launch a silent revolution of mores and religious codes, the magazine reported.
Speaking of Morocco’s religious reforms, especially the decision to allow female clerics (mourchidat) to perform clerical duties like counseling and providing spiritual guidance, one mourchidat told Elle: “Women are the heart of the family, it is they who shape behavior. The most important thing we do as mourchidat is to transmit ideas to them, so that women can become the solution to problems. The men will follow.”