|Study Director Jane Henrici presenting her findings in Rabat.||
In June, IWPR staff presented key findings from a national survey of the political, economic, social and legal status of women in Morocco, part of the larger Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa (SWMENA) project. Study Director Jane Henrici and Senior Research Associate Jeffrey Hayes joined International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) staff in Rabat to present “topic briefs” to a group of government agency and parliament representatives, advisors and NGO participants. The workshop was exceptionally well-received by participants and the event received both international and domestic press, including coverage from The Atlantic Monthly.
Survey results indicate that there is a gender gap in voter participation in Morocco. Women's participation in Morocco's municipal elections in June 2009 was lower than men's, with less than 45 percent of the women surveyed reporting having cast a vote compared with 57 percent of men. The majority of Moroccan women (54 percent) did not participate in the June 2009 municipal elections. The survey also found relatively high support for the system of gender quotas that is currently in effect in Parliament, with 7 in 10 women and 6 in 10 men favoring the gender quota system. Over a third of men are opposed to the system of gender quotas compared with only 17 percent of women. The survey, however, indicated that knowledge of gender quotas remains significantly low among ordinary Moroccan citizens at large.
Women showed much higher support than men for the Family Law (Moudawana) which provides a set of guarantees and assurances to women (85 percent of women versus 59 percent of men support the law). Most men who oppose the Moudawana believe the law negatively impacts them, exaggerates the spouse's demands, and opposes their religious beliefs. The top two reasons women gave for their dissatisfaction with the law involve their disappointment with the practice and enforcement of the Family Law and the feeling that its slow implementation does not do enough for the rights of women.
Women in Morocco have much lower educational attainment than men, with 48 percent of women, and 23 percent of men, having received no formal education. Women are also much less likely than men to participate in the paid labor force, with 69 percent of men and 10 percent of women reporting having worked for pay in the previous week.
Restricted movement, defined as a limited ability to leave one’s house without permission, remains an issue for a substantial portion of women in Morocco. Thirty percent of women report living under conditions of restricted movement. Restricted movement is greater for young women (44 percent of 18-24 year olds) than older women (18 percent of those aged 55 and older), as well as for women who do not work for pay (31 percent) compared with women who do work for pay (15 percent). Although relatively fewer women work for pay (10 percent) than men (69 percent), the wages paid to women and men are virtually the same.
The SWMENA project seeks to propel the efforts of local nonprofits working to improve the standing of women in the Middle East and North African region. The project has collected scientific survey data in Lebanon, Morocco, and Yemen to identify and address the areas of greatest need for women.
Please find these briefs and all other SWMENA related items on IWPR’s website.