The Platform


For over one hundred years, the Moroccan women’s movement has been tirelessly advocating for a broad spectrum of rights.

The women’s movement in Morocco serves as a powerful testament to the enduring quest for gender equality. It disrupts long-standing societal norms and wields a multifaceted influence over not just gender politics, but the broader tapestry of social movements in the country. Here, we delve into this vibrant movement, an intricate interplay between gender advocacy and widespread social change.

Since its formative years in the early 20th century, the Moroccan women’s movement has been tirelessly advocating for a broad spectrum of rights—ranging from education to public participation. The nation’s tumultuous fight for independence inadvertently shaped feminist ideologies, as women became an integral part of the nationalist fervor.

Over time, Morocco has witnessed remarkable legal strides aimed at elevating the status of women. Take, for instance, the monumental Family Code reforms of 2004, which recalibrated women’s legal standing within familial structures, affecting matters such as marriage, divorce, and child custody. However, the chasm between these legal texts and their real-world application remains, highlighting the persistent struggle to actualize gender equality.

The movement in Morocco adopts an intersectional lens, cognizant of the complex variables like class, ethnicity, and geographical divisions that exacerbate gender inequities. This brand of intersectional feminism is committed to elevating the marginalized voices within the broader feminist dialogue.

Religion, too, is a recurring theme in the conversations about gender in Morocco. While some women are pressing for a secular slant in policy formation, others are advocating for interpretations of Islam that are congruent with women’s rights, thereby proving that religious and feminist identities need not be mutually exclusive.

Non-governmental organizations focusing on women’s issues have been pivotal in this ongoing fight for gender equality. Their advocacy spans numerous domains—education, healthcare, economic self-sufficiency, and political engagement. Their endeavors have effectively raised public consciousness and pressured policymakers into action.

The women’s movement doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it intersects and collaborates with other social justice causes, from labor rights to democratic reforms. This cross-movement synergy amplifies their collective efficacy and impact on society at large.

The digital age has furnished Moroccan women with an invaluable tool: social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are now forums for candid discussions about gender and serve as conduits for mobilizing activist networks.

However, the path forward is fraught with obstacles. The tenacity of cultural norms, social and economic divides, and conservative religious interpretations continue to impede the realization of a truly egalitarian society.

The Moroccan women’s movement is not an isolated phenomenon; it is intrinsically linked to global feminist endeavors. Activists frequently find inspiration in international milestones and create alliances with feminists across borders.

Looking ahead, the women’s movement in Morocco will likely continue its dogged efforts to close the gap between legal statutes and lived experiences, redress lingering inequalities, and shape a society where inclusivity and equity are not just ideals but realities.

The Moroccan women’s movement is a dynamic entity that adeptly navigates the labyrinthine realms of gender politics, legal reforms, and cultural nuances. It persistently challenges traditional gender roles and empowers women, embodying a diverse and ever-resilient chorus of voices advocating for a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

Khalid Cherkaoui Semmouni is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Rabat Center for Political and Strategic Studies.