New Feminists in Morocco are Innovating Cultural Change
In the broader picture, gender justice and gender equality are vital for the development of Morocco. The new activists are building a path to that development and innovating in terms of content and strategy.
A new generation is defining feminism and gender equality in Morocco. The newly created Women for Diversity and Peace (Femmes pour la Diversité et la Paix - AFDP) by the Hiya (her) project, is a visionary initiative funded by the Swiss embassy. Created in 2018 by two Moroccan women, and using a combination of southern and northern gender approaches, the Hiya project aims at promoting women as ambassadors of peace in a diverse and plural Morocco.
Moroccan women are often depicted in Western media as powerless and passive victims of patriarchy. This depiction is nourished by a spectacular proliferation of Islamophobia in the Western world. Such depictions homogenize the discourse and sideline the empowerment and tremendous potential of women in Morocco as agents of change. The new emerging generation of young Moroccan feminists (females and males) is calling for diversity, individual freedom, gender justice, and peace, in addition to equality, which formed the backbone of the past generations of Moroccan feminists.
Amazigh feminist calling for cultural diversity in addition to equality seek to counter embedded stereotypes that still plague the mindsets of some scholars with parochial views on the history of Morocco. These activists seek to highlight the heterogeneity of Moroccan women, their diverse languages, the distribution of power, and the general socioeconomic and sociopolitical gaps between men and women.
These new activists are presenting an alternative image of Moroccan women showing agency, especially in the media. They remind us that stereotypes about women in Morocco are based on cultural biases that even highly educated people hold about Amazigh women. These biases are encoded in linguistic expressions as well as in underlying academic discourses, which constitute genuine violence against women.
The new activists are aware of the notorious effect of media on influencing people’s behaviors and values. This generation endeavors to educate high school boys and girls on gender justice through the media they consume most: social media, caricature, and performance. By so doing they seek to obtain equality in the present and future. In the broader picture, gender justice and gender equality are vital for the development of Morocco. The new activists are building a path to that development and innovating in terms of content and strategy.
But by addressing diversity and individual freedom, the new activists are becoming a strong weapon of combating violence against women and changing mindsets. The new generation is unique in its activity and strategy. More and more young people of both sexes are expressing that women should have control over their bodies and life choices, such as their desire to have children.
A thumbs up to the new feminists of Morocco!
About the Author
Middle East Women's Initiative
The Middle East Women's Initiative (MEWI) promotes the empowerment of women in the region through an open and inclusive dialogue with women leaders from the Middle East and continuous research. Read more