Women rights in Morocco have been boosted by sweeping reforms in family code (called Moudawana) in 2004. Moroccan women have fought for these reforms thru many organizations and associations that are supported by Morocco's king Mohamed VI. The government has approved one of the most progressive laws on women's and family rights in Arab countries. These reforms are now seen as a model by feminists across the Muslim world.
But apart from family law, women in morocco have had many other rights that are only dreamed about by other women in many Islamic countries.They have had old rights to education, employment and sports. Prophet Muhammed himself granted women these rights and set his wife as a model. Prophet Muhammed wife Khadija was a businesswoman. Women worked in fields, farms , medicine and trade in his era. He also not only ok'd sports but encouraged it.
Later traditions deviated and took an extreme dive. Interestingly, Moroccan women took a smarter approach when they argued for their rights in light of what Prophet Muhammed's Islam grants them rather than what rights Western women enjoy.
This is by no means an exhaustive coverage of Women status in Morocco. Sufficed it to say that prior to to having family law revamped, the country’s constitution (drafted in 1962) guaranteed women’s rights that are also supported through the teachings of Islam. In addition, Morocco has ratified the International labor organization conventions on the protection of women and the principle of equality between the sexes.
Morocco is changing rapidly that even publications as recent as 1999 are almost obselete. Here are some facts and numbers:
- Tourism, construction, communications, fishing and other industries make the most of Morocco's GDP.
- Agriculture barely accounts for 40%.
- 20% of the companies are owned or run by women.
- Life Expectancy is 73 years for Male, 79 years for Female.
- Health care is available to 92% of the population.
- Celibacy at age 50 is 5,8% among men and 6,7% among women.
- Unemployment rate in Morocco is estimated at 9%.
- Morocco's population's annual growth is at 1.050% per year.
The number of women who live independently outside traditional family setup has increased significantly just in the last few years. Fertility rates have also dropped considerably as women's interest in contraceptive use has grown. Delayed marriage and career priority have also plummeted. Only 16% of women lived in rural areas according to a 2008 statistics.
Women make 51% of Morocco's population. Moroccan women are great workers and performers. They excel as leaders when given the leadership opportunity.They have imposed themselves by the merit of their competence. In today's morocco, it is not unusual to see a group of female youngsters parading together through the streets of the country on their motorcycles from Honda, Suzuki, Harley-Davidson, and Yamaha.
Also, morocco women have long ventured into many careers that have been traditionally reserved for men only: police officers, airline pilots, train drivers, football(soccer) coaches and team managers, parliament members and cabinet ministers.
Moroccan women performance, achievement and participation.
Here are some achievements attesting to Moroccan women rights:
- The first Arab woman to fly a plane was a young Moroccan lady whose name is Turia Shawi. It was in 1951 when only a handful of western women did.
- First Moroccan woman parachute skydiver to win first prize in a competition is Aicha Meki in 1956.
- First female football(soccer) coach in the Arab world is a Moroccan. Her name is Turia Azerweel.
- First female piano player in the Arab world was a Moroccan. The late Ghitta Aloufir.
- The first Arab woman to drive a train is from Morocco. Her name is Saida Abad. It was in 1982.
- The first Arab woman to manage a correctional facility(prison) is Moroccan.Her name is Bouchra Msali.
- The first Arab female radio broadcaster in the fifties is Moroccan.Her name is Latifa Fassi.
- The first Arab woman to participate in the tough international car racing competition called Rally Dakar is Moroccan. Her name is Saida Ibrahimi.
- The first Arab woman firefighter is Moroccan.Her name is Fatima Abouk.
- The first Arab female athlete is Moroccan.Her name is Fatima Faqeer.
- The first Arab and muslim woman to reach the Antarctica is the Moroccan astrology and space scientist Meryem Shadeed.
- First motorcycle club in the Arab world for women - Miss Moto Maroc - was founded by the Moroccan Delilah Mousbah.
Best moroccan women in sports.
List of best moroccan women athletes order by top ranking.
- Gold medal for 3000m in the 1998 African Championships in Athletic
- Broke the African Record for 5000 metres in 1998 with a timing 14:40.19
- Bronze medal for 5000m at the 1995 Ghoteburg World Championships.
- Sliver medal behind Sonia O'Soullivan(IRL) in 1998 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
- Bronze medal for 5000m at the 1999 Sevilla World Championships.
- Gold medal for 1999 Cross Internacional de Itálica.
- Silver medal for 3000m at the 1999 World Indoor Championships in Maebashi,Japan.
- First place in 3000 metres in Aug. 11, 1999 in Zurich.
- Two silver medals at the 2000 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
- 1500 metres - 4:00.60 (1998)
- 3000 metres - 8:26.48 (1999)
- 5000 metres - 14:32.08 (1998)
- 10,000 metres - 34:04.64 (1994)
Nawal El Moutawakil
at the African Championships in Athletic. She added another two in the 400m hurdles in 1984 and 1985.
She was the only female in the Moroccan Olympic team that participated in 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She impressively won the women's 400 m hurdles gold medal, entering history as the first female Moroccan, Arab and Muslim to become an Olympic champion. Later to be used as role model for many women who followed in her footsteps. She has been herself actively helping women achieve their similar goals.
Moroccan sportswomen’s participation has since increased each olympic games not only in track and field but also in Judo, Take wondoo,discus throw, heptathlon, Tennis, wrestling, swimming and even weight lifting. The 1984 wins of Nawal El Moutawakil and Said Aouita in athletics and their later support have boosted Moroccan athltics and have empowered Moroccan women. Nawal, a pioneer for Moroccan, Arabic and Muslim athletes, has done a lot and still working hard for decades now. Nawal is currently a minister in Morocco and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluating candidacy for the 2016 Olympics. Nawal El Moutawakil was added to the hall of fame by the Women’s sports foundation in USA.
16 days of glory - Nawal el Moutawakel
Double Gold medalist of 400m Hurdles at 1997 and 2001 World Championships. She narrowly missed the 1999 gold medal by a millisecond (52.90sec) to Pernia(52.89sec) and contended with silver for the 400m Hurdle competition on controversial and contested results. She won the World Championships final at Athens by excitingly defeating Deon Hemmings (Jamaica) and Kim Batten (USA). Bidouane's 52'97" performance was simply impressive and a great moment for Moroccan sport history. Her victory meant she became part of the three athletes legends for 400m Hurdle women. Her Championship performances are also marked by a 400m Hurdle bronze medal at the 2000 summer olympics.
1997 World Championships Women's 400 Metres Hurdles nezha bidouane:
- Gold medal for 800m at the 1997 Mediterranean Games in Bari, Italy.
- silver medal at 1998 African Championships in Dakar, Senegal.
- Gold medal for 800m at the 2000 African Championships.
- Gold medal for the 1,500 women at the 2001 World Indoor Championships in Lisbon.
- Silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics 800m by 0.05 behind Kelly Holmes.
- Silver at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships.
- Silver at the 2005 World Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
- Silver at the 2007 World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan.
- Runner-up in the 800m steeplechase at the 2007 World Championship in Osaka, Japan.
- Bronze medal in the 800 meters women at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China.
Hasna (name means "charming") is married to Mohssine Chéhibi (a prpfessional Moroccan athlete who came in 4th place in the 800m 2004 Athens Olympics). Their daughter named Farah (Joy).
In 2005, Hasna Benhassi was selected as the best sportsperson in Morocco.
She is known for her high risk running strategy where she stays behind the pack till the final lap relying on her strong finish kick. This same running style served her well on some competitions but hurt her in others as she could not catch up.
Watch 800m women final at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics where Hasna emerged at the last minute to snatch a valuable olympic silver. Amazing, isn't it?
Bahia Mouhtassine's Achievements:
- Gold medal at the Mediterranean Games in Tunisia.
- Grand Prix La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Casablanca in 2004.
- Won 6 gold medals at the Pan Arab Games.
- Won 11 ITF Women's Circuit singles titles.
- 9 doubles titles.
Maha Haddioui is the best professional player in Morocco as demonstrated by her last performance at the Lalla Meryem Golf Cup.