Morocco is hailed by academics, international NGO workers, and the media as a trailblazer in women’s rights and legal reforms. The country is considered a model for other countries in the Middle East and North African region, but has Morocco made as much progress as experts and government officials claim? In Modernizing Patriarchy, Katja Žvan Elliott examines why women’s rights advances are lauded in Morocco in theory but are often not recognized in reality, despite the efforts of both Islamist and secular feminists.
In Morocco, female literacy rates remain among the lowest in the region; many women are victims of gender-based violence despite legal reforms; and girls as young as twelve are still engaged to adult men, despite numerous reforms. Based on extensive ethnographic research and fieldwork in Oued al-Ouliya, Modernizing Patriarchy offers a window into the life of Moroccan Muslim women who, though often young and educated, find it difficult to lead a dignified life in a country where they are expected to have only one destiny: that of wife and mother. Žvan Elliott exposes their struggles with modernity and the legal reforms that are supposedly ameliorating their lives. In a balanced approach, she also presents male voices and their reasons for criticizing the prevailing women’s rights discourse. Compelling and insightful, Modernizing Patriarchy exposes the rarely talked about reality of Morocco’s approach toward reform.
KATJA ŽVAN ELLIOTTis an assistant professor of political science/North African and Middle East studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University.
"Original and convincing. This book helps us understand the complex and deep schism between secular feminism and the Islamists’ view on women. The two viewpoints are often made to converge for political reasons, but this scholarly work shows their non-convergence. This in itself departs from the very recent literature in the field."
~Fatima Sadiqi, Senior Professor of Linguistics and Gender Studies, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, and author of Moroccan Feminist Discourses and Women, Gender, and Language in Morocco
"This book will be interesting to readers in several fields: gender, education, development, political science, social change, and probably others. The author discusses a population that is not discussed by others, e.g. highly educated young women in rural southern Morocco, and explores the various constraints on their lives. She presents data on the value, or not, of their higher education and on the implementation, or not, of the Family Status code, which is much admired but much less systematically explored in the literature."
~Susan Schaefer Davis, author of Adolescence in a Moroccan Town and Patience and Power: Women’s Lives in a Moroccan Village
Note on Transliteration
Chapter One: Ethnographic Reflections
Chapter Two: Politicization of Gender
Chapter Three: The State, the Public, and Women's Rights
Chapter Four: Twenty-First-Century Marriage: Gender Equality or Complementarity
Chapter Five: Rural, Educated, and Single
Stay connected for our latest books and special offers.
We live in an information-rich world. As a publisher of international scope, the University of Texas Press serves the University of Texas at Austin community, the people of Texas, and knowledge seekers around the globe by identifying the most valuable and relevant information and publishing it in books, journals, and digital media that educate students; advance scholarship in the humanities and social sciences; and deepen humanity’s understanding of history, current events, contemporary culture, and the natural environment.