Last update: 2021-01-18 10:37:36
The relationship between feminist demands, state policies and Islam offers a meaningful perspective for understanding the complex situation in the Maghrebi kingdom. Women’s rights movements, whether secular or Islam-based, are increasingly challenging the social and religious foundations of the country. The monarchy accepted some of their requests, generating, as a result, new forms of female religious authority which nonetheless served to reinforce its own stability.
Following the public protests led by the 20 February Movement in 2011, a new “top-down” Constitution was approved in Morocco, sanctioning a principle for which certain civil-society organizations (mostly feminist ones) have long fought: gender equality. A few years later, however, Morocco is still a long way off adapting its laws and social norms to this principle, which many progressive groups consider to be fundamental for the country’s “transition to democracy,” something as longed-for as it is unrealized.[i]
In the face of such a ferment, the relationship between feminist demands, gender politics and Islam or between the claims to a substantive equality between men and women, state reforms directed at guaranteeing a greater protection of the latters’ rights and the political exploitation of religion seems to be a significant field of observation for understanding the current complex situation. A situation in which “bottom-up” demands for both democratic changes to the state and socio-economic justice are clashing with an autocratic management of power by the elites close to the royal family, which uses Islam to guarantee the status quo.