Morocco: Women Celebrate International Day

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011.

Moroccan women, like their counterparts across the world, have been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the International Women's Day today. They have long been at the forefront of the civil society's struggle for a better and more dignified life. And as the freedom “fever”, inspired by the “Arab Revolutions” continues to sweep across the Middle East and North Africa, Moroccan feminists are also taking to the streets, making sure gender equality and emancipation of women are part of the agenda for change.

In 2004, responding to the repeated appeals and long struggle of the civil society, the Moroccan government passed laws meant to build awareness around women's rights and empower them politically and economically. Seven years after the implementation of the Moudawana, or Family Code, many see little improvement in women's social status. A deadly event acted a dreadful reminder of that alarming reality when in mid-February Fadoua Laroui, a young single mother, self-immolated in a public place protesting her hopeless social situation.

Women marchers took to the streets today and a vigil was organized to celebrate the memory of Fadoua Laroui right at the heart of Casablanca, the largest city in the country, from where these pictures were sent by Feryate Mahjoub via Twitter:

@Feryate: كلنا فداء فدوى الشهيدة

We are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for martyr Fadoua

Vigil in memory of Fadoua Laroui

@Feryate: صورة من الوقفة التضامنية مع فدوى العروي بالبيضاء

@Feryate: Picture from the sit-in in memory of Fadoua Laroui in Casblanca

Sit-in in memory of Fadoua Laroui

Feryate also posted this picture from the same gathering showing women(and men) carrying placards where their demands were inscribed:

Equality and Parity for Women

On the Moroccan blogosphere, male and female bloggers have been reflecting on this International Day.

Marrokia (Sanaa) is one of the most popular Moroccan bloggers. She had this rather bleak perspective to share:

لا تبحثي أبدا عن المساواة، واستجدي العدل إن وجدته. ابحثي عنه في ذاتك ولا تطمعي إلا في راحة بال تكتفين بها. وكفاكِ هتافات ونداءات ساخرة… فالمرأة مرأة والرجل رجل.

[women] never look for equality, only beg for justice. Look for it in yourself and be content with the peace of mind. Enough slogans and nonsensical appeals … Women are women and men are men.

Aghrass is an photographer and blogger. He writes:

Cette journée est à dédier a Fadoua Laroui qui pour des raisons et d’autres s’est donnée la mort en criant son désespoir devant l’injustice des hommes et du système

This day is dedicated to Fadoua Laroui, who for many reasons committed suicide in despair, screaming the injustice of men and of the system.

Citoyen Hmida has chosen to write about Moroccan female painters. He posted the pictures of the work of some of them on his blog. Citoyen Hmida writes:

En ce 8 mars, journée internationale de la femme, j’ai voulu rendre hommage à la femme marocaine, mais sans me lamenter sur son sort et sans instrumentaliser la misère profonde que vivent au quotidien une grande partie de nos concitoyennes.

On this day, March 8, the International Women's Day, I wanted to pay tribute to Moroccan women, but without lamenting on their fate and without exploiting the deep and daily poverty experienced by some of them.

On Twitter, Meriem (@meriemk) is triumphant. She tweets:

@meriemk: In morocco, for the #internationalwomensday, The movies are free for women! lol

Indeed theatres are opening their doors for free for women today across Morocco. Happy Women's Day!

This post is part of our special coverage Morocco Protests 2011.

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