Moroccan politics is written with a woman’s name
Moroccan politics: The presence of women in Moroccan politics is becoming more and more remarkable. The fact that the Moroccan people elected three women mayors at the head of three of the most important Moroccan cities was only the tip of the iceberg of an unstoppable model that is beginning to place women at the head of the most important political positions.
But the presence of women in politics has not been casual, but is the fruit of struggles, demands and commitments since more than 60 years ago, when the first voices began to be raised timidly wondering why women had no presence in the social and public life of the country.
An acquired right
Moroccan politics: The right of Moroccan women to participate in political life began to take shape in 1962, when the first Moroccan Constitution was promulgated, although the first women’s associations began to appear in the 1940s, convinced that by joining forces they would go further. In the 60’s the first demands for better working conditions arose and it was in the 80’s when a movement with feminist awareness began, while in the 90’s a third of women began to be demanded in political parties.
The year 1993 marked the entry of women into parliamentary life, with the appointment of two female deputies. A milestone that marked one of the institutional reforms proposed by Mohammed VI after his enthronement in 1999, and which was accompanied by the promulgation in 2004 of the new Family Code, which introduced substantial improvements in the status of women, responding to associations demanding their rights. With all this support, the number of women in high political office grew steadily, reaching 35 women parliamentarians in 2002, while in the June 2009 elections there were already more than 3,400 women elected.
However, the big push for Moroccan women to make the leap into politics began to take real shape with the 2011 Constitution, which introduced the concept of gender parity and initiated the application of the principle of “positive discrimination” that ensured women a certain quota in politics. The new Constitution spoke of equality in Article 19, which states that “men and women enjoy equal civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms. And the State shall act to achieve parity between men and women”.
And although since then they have continued to encounter all kinds of obstacles in gaining access to positions of power in the political sphere, little by little they have been overcoming obstacles, proving their worth in a profession traditionally reserved for men.
The goal of conciliation
Moroccan politics: What is happening to Moroccan politicians can be extrapolated to the difficulties faced by women in any position of responsibility in the business sector. The so-called glass ceiling is to be found in all spheres. And although it is easy to find a considerable number of women working in public offices, companies, factories or in the world of politics, this female presence is very little relevant in the highest spheres.
For experts, women’s struggle is due to the very structural obstacles of Moroccan society. Men are not accustomed to give up their positions to women who arrive on the scene on the strength of their studies and a successful career. And also a great social pressure that prevents them from advancing and forces them to constantly have to justify their qualities.
The issue of family reconciliation is another of the issues that end up slowing down women who want to ascend to high political positions. Aspirants to a position of responsibility, in any sphere, still have to listen to the doubts of their environment about how to reconcile their political career with a family life, which makes many professional newcomers to politics, despite the laws supporting them, feel the social pressure that prevents them from accepting professional responsibilities as they grow in their work environment.
A historic milestone
The municipal, regional and legislative elections, held in 2021, showed, for the first time, that a historic milestone had been reached. Women made up, for the first time, 24.3% of the parliament, a figure that advanced considerably from the 0.61% reached the first time they achieved representation. And although many people opposed the quota that ensured their stay in the political elite, the measure has offered a result that has not only made them visible, but has also given them the opportunity to demonstrate that their presence in politics is valid and that their way of governing can lead them to great achievements from their position.
Achieving these results involves a very important social struggle, where the work of associations and groups such as “Paridad Ahora”, a civil initiative formed by men and women from associations that fight for women’s rights, stands out. Researchers, artists and prominent members of the country’s social sphere have gathered the necessary signatures to submit to Parliament a bill with different measures to achieve true parity by 2030.
In the 2021 elections, the government appointed six women ministers, including Nadia Fattah, as head of the Economy and Finance portfolio, a post that has always been held by men, which shows that something has definitely changed in Moroccan politics.
However, there is still a long way to go, as the gender gap is still very wide, especially in rural areas. For experts, the real turning point lies in education. Giving women access to education means giving them the opportunity to enter areas from which they have traditionally been excluded, such as politics.
In any case, the promotion of women’s rights and their presence in the political sphere, which have become one of the cornerstones on which Morocco’s modern democratic society is based, is unstoppable. Moroccan politics
Three women mayors
If anyone doubted the new role of Moroccan women in politics, the answer has come with the simultaneous presence of three women mayors at the head of the three most important cities in Morocco: Casablanca as the economic capital, Marrakech as the tourist capital and Rabat as the administrative capital. All of them are governed by women.
At the head of Rabat is Asmaa Ghalolou, an economist and journalist born in Rabat. She is the first woman mayor of this city and has always said that “my mission is not easy, but I have a lot of willpower”. For Ghalolou, women govern differently than men, compensating for the lack of experience, habit or knowledge with commitment and the will to do things better and better.
For her part, the mayor of Marrakech, Fatima El Mansouri, a divorced mother of two children, has been mayor for two terms, and like her colleague in Casablanca, Nabila Rmili, a doctor by profession, combines her work in the mayor’s office with her presence in the government, in charge of two ministries.
The presence of women in Moroccan politics comes after years of a struggle demanding a greater role for women, not only as a social demand, but also for their contribution to the development and sustenance of democracy. And although in principle the quotas have allowed progress in parity, the presence of women mayors in Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech confirm a change of mentality that propels women to the top of political responsibilities on their own merits, allowing Morocco to lead the process of breaking the glass ceiling in Arab countries.
The movies preferred by Moroccans
Of all the cultural aspects of Morocco, cinema is one of the areas most closely linked to Moroccan society. The diversity of landscapes and the Moroccan light have made the country the setting for the filming of great cinematic successes. And the Marrakech International Film Festival has catapulted the country as one of the great capitals of the seventh art.
Although its internationally recognized cinematographic activity is quite recent, Morocco has never renounced it, following in the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian industries. It is these local films, along with the big international hits, that make up the majority of Moroccans’ tastes. First consumed in large cinemas and for the past few years in the comfort of the home via the major platforms, a look at the favorite films of Moroccans allows us to establish a fairly accurate x-ray of Moroccan society.
Proud of their history
Among the favorite films of Moroccans are those that have been shot in Morocco, many of them in the film studios of Ouarzazate:
Inception, also known as The Origin, is a science fiction film about a group of thieves who utilize a contraption that invades dreams to their advantage.
Gladiator: tells the story of Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Roman officer who is chosen by Marcus Aurelius to succeed him as emperor, an idea with which his son Commodus will not agree.
Babel: a film that reinforces the concept of the idea of family. It tells the story of a sad incident involving an American couple in Morocco, an event that affects four families from different countries.
The Last Temptation of Christ: the film shows the human face and the inner journey of Jesus as he discovers what God intends for him.
The Man Who Knew Too Much: an American couple becomes involved in an international conspiracy after meeting a dying spy in Morocco, who reveals an important secret that could endanger their country.
Asterix on Mission Cleopatra: Asterix and Obelix are sent by their boss to Egypt to help Cleopatra build a palace, but must face countless challenges while using a magic potion to overcome obstacles.
Kundun: the film chronicles the life of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, recounting his life from his childhood to his exile from Tibet due to the Chinese invasion in 1950.
Kingdom of Heaven: during the Crusades, a French blacksmith becomes the leader of Jerusalem, seeking to maintain peace between Christians and Muslims while facing great challenges, internal and external.
Ben Hur: tells the life story of a Jewish prince betrayed by his Roman friend Messala, with whom he will end up facing in the most famous chariot race of all times.
Game of Thrones and The House of the Dragon: two of the most successful television series of recent years. It tells the story of the struggles for power between different noble houses, located in different kingdoms.
From watching all these films and series, one can deduce the interest of the Moroccan people in their origins and history. A lesson of tolerance in a land that, despite living in Islam, respects and is interested in other religions. And also the feeling of unity of a country used to fight for its concerns over the centuries.
From science fiction to historical films, including a touch of comedy, the common denominator in the tastes of Moroccans is the heterogeneity of their preferences, choosing the film according to the mood of the moment. Moroccan politics
Idiosyncrasy on the big screen
Among the films most highly rated by Moroccans are also those shot by filmmakers born in the country and trained in film production abroad. Some of them are shot in Arabic, others in French, making up productions that are very much focused on the daily life of the Moroccan people.
Les mille et une mains: the destiny of two Moroccan families dedicated to the carpet trade intertwines. The humbler one dyes the wool used in the carpets manufactured by the wealthier family, and the drama begins when an accident involves the head of the factory and the son of the humbler dyeing family.
Chergui, as-samt al-anif: tells how a woman uses magic to prevent her husband from remarrying.
Arais Min Kasab: the film, directed by Jilali Ferhati from a script by Farida Benlyazid, his own wife, tells of the victims of ancient customs and traditions that place men at the center of all rights.
Ali Zaoua, Prince of Casablanca: Ali, Kwita, Omar and Boubker are street children in Casablanca. Ali dreams of being a sailor and traveling the world, but during a fight he is killed. His friends bury him as a prince and decide to make his dream come true.
The Long Journey: tells the story of the journey of the adolescent Reda and his father on a car trip that takes them from the south of France to Mecca. It reflects the generational conflict between a Muslim anchored in his traditions and a Westernized young man, although both discover that they have more in common than they think.
The Bitchy Life of Juanita Narboni: the film tells the story of a woman of Lebanese origin and her struggle for independence and authenticity in an environment dominated by hypocrisy and superficiality.
Casanegra: two childhood friends, Karim and Adil, live in Casablanca, looking for a better life on the edge of the law. Karim decides to get out of this dark world, while Adil sinks deeper each day, dragged down by the harshest side of society.
By watching these films, Moroccan society reveals a sense of rootedness and a taste for the local. Local stories, centered on the land, on the evolution and daily life of a country in a constant state of transformation. A society that is sometimes harsh and sometimes simple, but always authentic.
Religion as a leitmotiv
If Moroccans had to choose their favorite film of all time, it would probably be The Message, also known as Mohammad, Messenger of God. It is a historical film, directed by Moustapha Akkad, that chronicles the life of the Islamic poet Mohammad, from his birth to his role as the founder of Islam in the 7th century.
The film shows the challenges he faced while preaching the new monotheistic faith, his migration to Medina and his triumphant return to Mecca, offering a respectful view of his life. As a curiosity, it avoids directly showing the figure of Muhammad in order not to violate Islamic rules prohibiting its presentation.
This film, which promotes understanding and respect for this religion and its history, both for followers of this faith and for people of other beliefs, is a faithful reflection of the presence of religion in all layers of Moroccan society.
Openness to the world
The presence of the Internet has changed the behavior of Moroccan cinema consumers, who can choose what and when they watch from the comfort of their homes.
Studies indicate that the genres preferred by Moroccans nowadays are romantic films – with a clear influence of the female audience between 20 and 40 years old – and action films – mostly preferred by the male gender -, with a significant increase in the taste for horror films by teenagers in big cities such as Rabat, Marrakech, Fez or Tangier. Slightly behind are comedies, which are mentioned as a favorite genre by about a fifth of the population.
The cinema is mainly attended by young Moroccans who live in the big cities and belong to the middle or upper-middle class, but only 8% of the population goes to the cinema two or more times a month, and when they do, it is to see a very specific film, usually an international premiere. In this regard, some of the movies currently most watched by Moroccans on the Netflix streaming platform are the following:
A gun-toting in-laws: Owen Browning is an upstanding bank manager who is about to marry the love of his life. His bank is robbed by bandits and he suspects they are his in-laws, who have just arrived in town.
Bird Box Barcelona: when a mysterious force wipes out the world’s population, Sebastian and his daughter begin their own journey in Barcelona with the sole goal of survival.
Love Tactics 2: Although Asli doesn’t believe in marriage, when she realizes that her boyfriend thinks the same way she does, she goes to great lengths to get him to propose to her.
Cash: Cash is a con man with great charm. When his brother dies, he decides to avenge him in style, without guns or violence.
Rescue Mission 2: Tyler Rake, the intrepid Australian mercenary, embarks on a dangerous, action-packed mission to save an imprisoned family from a ruthless gangster.
Skyscraper, rescue from on high: Will Sawyer is wrongly accused of setting a fire in a skyscraper, so he will try to save his honor while helping his family, trapped by a fire in the tallest building in the world.
A Picture to Believe: tells the story of Sahra and Deniz, who met as children only to meet again as adults. The meeting, which rekindles the flame of love, will not be accidental, but the result of the interest of their grandmothers.
Athena: hours after her younger brother is tragically killed by a policeman in unexplained circumstances, violence breaks out in a French neighborhood and the lives of her siblings change forever.
Monster Hunter: A United Nations military team is plunged into an alternate dimension, where humans fight giant monsters. Lieutenant Artemis and her team are assigned to this new world, where they will try to survive despite all the hostilities it presents.
The taste for foreign films of all genres indicates the modernity of Moroccan society, its openness to the world, and the confirmation that, finally, the taste for good cinema and the fan phenomenon for the most famous directors and actors knows no borders.
From the first films, produced by an incipient film industry, to the most recent internationally successful releases, and from the warmth of movie theaters to the comfort of homes, Moroccan women’s taste for films of different genres is but one more proof of the diversity and heterogeneity of a diverse population, linked to the past and the land with the same intensity that remains open to the future. Moroccan politics, For more information Morocco Tours