The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the United Nations representation in Morocco, celebrated on Friday 7 March 2014, in Rabat, the International Women’s Day, under « Equality between Men and Women, to ensure progress. »
This event, which was co-chaired by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mrs. Mbarka Bouaida, and the Representative of the UNIFEM Maghreb, Mrs. Leila Rhiwi, was attended by members of the Government, Members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Rabat, representatives of UN Agencies in Morocco, Directors and staff of the Ministry, and representatives of several ministerial departments.
In a statement delivered at the opening session. Mrs. Mbarka Bouaida stated that Morocco has undertaken a series of major reforms to promote the principles of equality and equity between women and men, noting that « Substantially, the integration of the gender approach has been translated into actions, measures, and arrangements, through strategies, programs and action plans, at several levels. »
The Human Rights issue has, over the past two decades, received “unprecedented interest and expanded rapidly in Morocco, at the institutional and normative levels”, highlighted Mrs. Bouaida, further noting that in this perspective, Morocco’s interest to the issue of the Rights of Women, materialized at the international level, through its accession and ratification of several international instruments, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), including its Optional Protocol, in addition to the removal of some of the reservations on this Convention.
Convinced that inequality perpetuates economic poverty, Morocco has opted, for more than a decade, for the Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) approach, she pursued, recalling that Morocco’s commitment in this perspective, was crowned by the creation of the GRB Centre of Excellence, on the occasion of the High-Level International Conference on the Gender Responsive Budgeting, held in 2012, in Marrakech.
The Minister Delegate underlined that Morocco endorsed the Cairo Declaration, based on the proposals of UNIFEM, relating to the adoption of an autonomous objective, for the achievement of gender equality, the rights and empowerment of women, in the post-2015 Development Agenda.
Given the transversal nature of this theme, the Kingdom also supports the proposal to consider the gender equality issue, in all other objectives of post-2015, she noted.
The Minister Delegate paid, on this occasion, tribute to the civil society, which has played and still plays a key role, not only in advancing gender and Human Rights issues, but also vis-à-vis the Moroccan woman, who has distinguished herself over the past years, by her endurance, perseverance, and fighting for emancipation and freedom.
For the Minister of Solidarity, Women’s Affairs, Family and Social Development, Mrs. Bassima Hakkaoui, Morocco, given its democratic and constitutional acquis, ensures the consolidation of the integration of a gender approach into public policies.
She underlined in this regard, that the Parity Government Program « Ikram » (2012-2016), represents an appropriate framework for the creation of an interaction among the several initiatives taken, for the integration of women’s rights into the public policies, and development programs, based on the provisions of the new Constitution and Morocco’s international commitments.
This government program, she recalled, aims to achieve an equality of rights, responsibilities and opportunities, noting that equality, which is reinforced through positive discrimination, also aims at acknowledging not only the efforts of women, but also those of men, in the public as well as the private sphere.
For her part, the Representative of the UNIFEM Maghreb, Mrs. Leila Rhiwi, said that the organization of this event, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, is the translation of the strong and unwavering Morocco’s commitment for the promotion and protection of the human rights of women. This commitment was reaffirmed in 2011, with the adoption of a truly « avant-gardiste » constitution, in the region, relating to equality between men and women.
Mrs. Rhiwi stated that the international Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March of every year, is a unique opportunity not only to review the progress made in the human rights of women, but also to evaluate the challenges that still need to be overcome, in order to achieve a full and effective gender equality. She also highlighted the fact that « gender inequality and discrimination against women remains a commonly admitted worldwide reality. »
« In the vast majority of countries, women’s representation in Parliamentary Assemblies, is still far from the 30 percent critical mass, beyond which they will be able to influence the decision-making process », said Mrs. Rhiwi.
The UN Official also highlighted the fact that more than half of the working women, hold vulnerable positions, with low or no income, and outside the scope of any legislation.
The program of this event has focused on three panels, addressing respectively the following topics « Living free from violence », « Equal opportunities and access to resources and services », and « The voice of leadership and participation. »
The objective of this event is to deepen the joint analysis between national partners (institutions and NGO’s) and the United Nations in Morocco, the promotion of gender equality, the empowerment of women, and the protection of girls, in line with the post-2015 Development Agenda.