Celebration of the 2015 International Woman Day

On 27 February 205, the UCLG Africa secretary general participated in a function at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Morocco, for the celebration of the Woman’s International Day at the invitation of Ms Mbarka Bouaida, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Kingdom of Morocco.

On the theme “Women Rights in Morocco 20 years after Beijing”, the celebration witnessed the presence of Ms Bassima Hakkaoui, Minister for Solidarity, Woman, Family, and Social Development, Ms Leila Rhiwi, representative of UN Women, representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Morocco, of women and civil society organizations.

This was an opportunity to recall progress made in Morocco in the area of women empowerment, including the new family law, a series of tools aiming at identifying the gender content of public policies, such as gender-sensitive budgeting for which Morocco is a pilot country at the international level. But there is still a long way to go when it comes to address violence against women, economic empowerment of women, and the presence of women in leadership positions in society.

Stocktaking of the results of women empowerment 20 years after Beijing shows many limitations in terms of progress. Women are still only 20% of parlementarians worldwide. There is need to make gender equality an urgent priority for the upcoming sustainable development goals. The rights-based approach should inspire any policy aiming at addressing gender equality. Necessary resources should be mobilised accordingly, so that women enjoy the same rights as men in decision making, leadership and openness to opportunities at all levels. The new 2011 constitution of Morocco proclaims gender equality, giving to this country the basis for a renewed gender equality momentum at a moment we are celebrating the Beijing Platform 20 years after its adoption.

Participants were delivered the following four introductory presentations to the debate:

– the global, regional, and national dynamics 20 years after Beijing by Ms Rabea Naciri, National Human Rights Council;

– the national report on the implementation of the Beijing Plan of Action, by Ms Hanane Ennadir, Ministry for Solidarity, Woman, Family and Social Development;

– challenges and opportunities in Morocco 20 years after Beijing by Ms Najat Razi, Moroccan Association for Women Rights

– gender equality perspectives in the Post 2015 Development Agenda by Ms Ghita El Khyari, UN Women.

The presentations highlighted the fact that despite progress observed in the adoption of legal instruments at the international level, many countries, including Morocco, have not ratified these instruments. Gender mainstreaming has not been translated into concrete actions  beyond benchmarking and training activities. In many cases, women associations were not really supported and they did not benefit for an improved enabling environment. One also notice the rise of strong anti-women lobbies, in particular in North Africa and the Middle East Region, that put at risks the benefits expected from the Beijing Platform.