Labelling Benkirane as Misogynist Won’t Serve Moroccan Women’s Interests

Labelling Benkirane as Misogynist Won’t Serve Moroccan Women’s Interests


New York – The intervention of Prime Minister Abdelillah Benkirane on women’s role as mothers has generated virulent reactions in social media.

In this article, I am sharing a few thoughts and calling for a more rational assessment of his statement rather than a systematic and often politically motivated dismissal, an attitude which might play against the interests of women.

Far from political litigation, many of the points raised by our prime minister with regard to women’s role in society are relevant. The question of valuing women’s role as mothers and compensating women’s housework are prevalent in developed societies and the gender theory itself. Women do assume multiple responsibilities as workers and mothers. Acknowledging – valuing- their role as mothers is not misogynist. We have to free ourselves from these conceptual complexes if we want to free our women from the real structural challenges that impede their advancement in society.

State institutions have an obligation to provide women with the conditions to fulfill 100 % of their potential, and women need to have all options open. However, differences in gender roles is a social construct but also a reality. Women do face double responsibilities and many end up making a sacrifice between their career and their family lives. Those who keep both are facing obstacles all along the way. Therefore, there is a need to take into account motherhood in our institutions.

Currently, barriers to women’s advancement are also structural. Indeed, jobs are structured to accommodate the life cycles of men assuming they have wives who are not full time workers. The structural in-adaptation of the job industry to women’s life styles and to the changes in social and gender roles does not only create obstacles to women’s career advancement but does also generate a loss in potential, a shortage in workforce, and a waste in brainpower.

Some might disagree with Mr. Benkirane’s tone, some might use it for their own political calculations, but from a feminist perspective, I do agree with the simple fact that he raised this question. Labeling him as a misogynist is just escaping the real debate, and this attitude has not and will not serve women’s interests.

By Lamia Bazir.

Lamia Bazir is a former Moroccan graduate student at Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris.