Uncertainty for the future of the Moroccan women’s movement
For the past twenty years Moroccan women, from the liberal camp to the Islamist, have campaigned for equal rights for women. Their struggle has borne many triumphs and is gradually beginning to change the lives of women throughout the country. But how will they face the new challenges presented by Morocco's first Islamist-majority government?
In the Moroccan parliamentary elections of November 25, 2011, for the first time in Morocco’s history, an Islamist faction, the Justice and Development Party (PJD) won 40 percent↑of the seats in the government, giving it the majority in Morocco’s legislative body. Since then the leaders and members of Morocco’s liberal/secular women’s movement have been on alert. In January 2012, when Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane (PJD) revealed the appointments of his cabinet, much to the chagrin of the liberal women’s movement, only one woman was given a ministerial position. Bassima al-Hakkaoui, former MP and member of the PJD and, now, the Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, is the first hijab-wearing Islamist political figure to serve in the Moroccan government. Maguy Kakon, Social Center Party parliamentary candidate in 2007 and 2011, claims that while it may be too soon to tell exactly what the PJD government’s agenda will be, women are preparing “to fight to keep their hard-earned rights” that they fear may soon come under attack.