The Politics of Women's Rights in Morocco
251 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Sales Date: September 15, 2015
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.
"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