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In brief: women of morocco protest for gender equality

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Hundreds of women hit the streets of Rabat, the capital of Morocco, over the weekend, to demand that their country implement a constitutional guarantee of gender equality.

Article 19 of the constitutions states that ‘men and women have equal civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms’ and ‘the state shall work towards the establishment of parity between men and women.’ But this section has never been fully implemented by Morocco’s Islamic leaders.

The protestors marched to the parliament building, holding signs that had slogans like ‘women’s safety in public places,’ and ‘equality as a right, not a privilege.’

Fawzia El-Asouli, who coordinated the Civil Coalition, believes that the government is ‘stalling in the application of laws that protect women from violence and discrimination.’

Violence against women has been a problem in Morocco for a long time, and even marital rape isn’t recognised as a crime. Only at the beginning of this year did they finally repeal an outdated penal code that allowed rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victims.

Support for gender equality has been quietly gaining momentum across the continent of Africa, however only about half of Moroccan residents favour giving women the same opportunities as men.

The issue of sexual violence in particular is currently being pursued by way of protests in India and Spain.

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