Women look to break 'patriarchal' politics in Morocco

Morocco's women election candidates hope to break 'patriarchal' politics
2 min read
09 September, 2021
Female candidates were well represented in Morocco's elections, but the expectations of the country's women don't stop there.
The proportion of women running in local and regional Moroccan elections has increased by 15% since 2015 [Getty]

Morocco's women politicians were hopeful of making their mark on their country's elections on Wednesday.

Morocco's electoral rules have typically made it difficult for women in politics to have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. However, amendments made to electoral laws will see women make up one-third of all seats in local councils.

Ibtisam Azzawi, member of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces party, faced fierce competition in the district of Rabat she ran in, including the former city mayor and other male political leaders.

Azzawi has drawn attention to important progress made in the country, being an increased female participation rate and more female ballot representation in this year's elections.

Candidacies of Moroccan women in local and regional elections have increased from 12% in the 2015 elections, to 27% in this year's elections. However, the proportion of districts led by women remains at just one percent.

"Women's presence in the current elections have gone beyond participation, to the intrusion of politically active Moroccan women into patriarchal areas," she told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Moroccans voted on Wednesday in parliamentary and local elections which decided the fate of the Islamist party who have governed the kingdom since the Arab Spring uprisings. 

Eighteen million voters are on the electoral roll, and citizens voted for 395 national lawmakers, alongside more than 31,000 local and regional officials.

Despite progress, Moroccan women still have not achieved all they expect, Azzawi said. She hopes "to one day see a female president of Morocco and female mayors of Moroccan cities".