While the dominant narrative suggests that Morocco is a champion of stability and moderation in the ‘Arab world,’ this article challenges that discourse and argues that the state’s hagiographic narrative on women’s rights and gender equality is problematic. This article also draws attention to the discontinuity between the legal focus on violence against women (VAW) by women’s rights groups on one hand and the views and needs of non-elite Moroccan women on the other. This focus on reforms in the legal space has, concomitantly, left the existing power structures, which lay at the heart of inequality in Morocco, unchallenged. By illustrating these two arguments, the article also highlights a mutually fashioning, albeit asymmetrical, relationship between the government and women’s rights groups, which perpetuates inadequacies in both of their approaches.
KEYWORDS: Violence against women, women’s rights, minorities’ and indigenous peoples’ rights, gender, Morocco, Arab spring
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.