The Women’s Movement and Political Discourse in Morocco


      The process of democratization has acquired credibility in the Moroccan context mainly through two developments: first, the opening up of the formal political sphere to new actors; and second, the broadening of the subjects discussed by political institutions, as well as the forms and discourses underlying political action. Although these changes are still in their initial stages, they have nevertheless greatly contributed to a rehabilitation of political action by extending it to questions that touch on
 
 

the socio-economic interests of large groups of the population, including women.
  
 

The exclusion of women is not unique to the political and sociological context of Muslim societies. Because the Moroccan women.s movement has realized this, it has been able to escape from the trap of double specificity
 
 

 
 of situating women in relation to men, and of comparing Arab-Muslim women with Western women  and has cast off its isolation in relation to the theories and discourses of Western feminism. The women.s movement has thus helped to promote political debate. It has also focused attention on fundamental questions challenging society as a whole . such as modernity, universality and difference in a country reputed to be deeply traditional.   
 

     The women.s movement, which was initially marginal and sometimes considered extremist, has progressed since the mid-1980s. Its discourse and claims have become points of reference for intellectuals and the political establishment. Its visibility and energy have turned it into a defining element in the structure of civil society. In short, by representing their independent interests, feminists have helped to redefine gender identities and political identities simultaneously. The movement has helped shift .political. boundaries by encouraging public discussion and debate on issues traditionally associated with the domestic and private sphere, such as divorce, polygamy, matrimonial tutelage, violence, and the political participation of women
 
 

 
 all subjects which were previously .taboo., to be discussed .among women only. or among specialists in theology or Islamic law. In so doing the women.s movement has helped to increase political participation and broaden the political terrain in Morocco.  
Rabéa Naciri
 

 

 

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