Morocco: Grant women greater rights

Move towards the improvement of the status of women through wide-reaching legislative reforms.
There are ongoing efforts in Morocco to improve the status of women through wide-reaching legislative reforms. We encourage you to join the Women's Learning Partnership in writing to Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi in support of the Moroccan government's proposed national plan to integrate women in economic development, "Plan d'action National pour l'integration de la Femme au Development" (PANDIF).
Unfortunately, PANDIF faces opposition because of specific reforms dealing with the Moudawwana, Morocco's civil status code that encompasses the family code governing women's status in society. In particular, there is resistance to reforms that seek to increase the minimum age for marriage from 15 to 18 and to fully replace the practice of repudiation whereby a divorced wife has no recourse with court divorces. A husband is currently allowed to repudiate his wife without justification, depriving her of all rights relating to the couple's marital property.

Additionally, the proposed reform will make polygamous marriage subject to the first wife's consent, given freely before a judge. It also grants women the right to obtain a copy of their marriage certificate at the registry office, allowing her to retain custody of her children in case of separation or divorce.

Furthermore, it enshrines the right of women to freely choose a spouse without anyone's prior approval, the right of unmarried mothers to give their children any surname they choose and the right to designate the father as "unknown" when registering the birth of an illegitimate child.

The process of reform has been temporarily suspended while a Consultative Commission established in April 2001 by King Mohammed VI is studying whether or not there is a need to revise the Moudawwana.
Women's Learning Partnership
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Women's Learning Partnership