Focus on Morocco | Freedom of Movement, & Freedom from Harassment & Violence Topic Brief

Publication Date: 
21 Jun 2010

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WOMEN’S FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT, AND FREEDOM FROM HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE

This topic brief presents key findings from the SWMENA survey in Morocco. One portion of the survey examined the extent to which women enjoyed freedom of movement without pressures from family or society, attitudes towards violence against women, and the degree to which domestic violence is tolerated or rejected by society.1

Women in Public Spaces

Women’s ability to move freely and safely in public spaces supports their ability to fully participate in the civic, political, and economic life of their communities. The SWMENA survey asked women in Morocco how free or restricted they felt in associating with persons of their own choosing; expressing their views on critical issues to family members, neighbors or friends; leaving their house without permission; and moving about in public areas without fear or pressure.

  • Figure 1 shows that nearly three-quarters of women in Morocco (71%) feel completely free to associate with persons of their own choosing and close to one-quarter of women (23%) feel somewhat free to do so. Six percent of women feel somewhat or completely restricted in their choices of association.
  • More than nine in ten women (91%) feel somewhat or completely free moving about in public areas without fear or pressure. However, 9% feel at least somewhat restricted in moving about in public areas.
  • The majority of women feel completely free (66%) in expressing their views on critical issues to family members, neighbors or friends, whereas more than a quarter feel somewhat free (27%) in doing so.  Seven percent feel somewhat or completely restricted in expressing themselves.
  • Three in ten women feel at least somewhat restricted in leaving their house without permission. Nearly four in ten women (37%) feel completely free to leave the house without permission. Women older than 55, however, are significantly more likely to feel completely free to leave their house compared to women ages 18-24 (54% vs. 23%).

There are significant differences in freedom of mobility among women by marital status, age, work status and income adequacy.2

  • Married and single women are more than three times as likely as formerly married women to feel somewhat or completely restricted from leaving the house without permission: nine in ten women (90%) who were formerly married felt somewhat or completely free in leaving the house without permission, compared to 68% of married women and 64% of single women.
  • Younger women are much more likely than older women to report restrictions on their freedom to leave the house, suggesting that this freedom increases with age: women ages 65 and older are more than twice as likely as women ages 18-24 to feel completely free leaving the house (55% and 23% respectively). 
  • Women working for pay are more likely than women not working for pay to feel completely or somewhat free in leaving the house without permission.  Almost half of women working for pay (49%) felt completely free leaving the house without permission, compared to a little more than one-third of women who did not work for pay (36%).
  • Almost two in ten women not working for pay (19%) feel completely restricted leaving the house without permission, more than twice the rate of women working for pay at 8%.
  • Women at lower levels of income adequacy are more likely than their wealthier counterparts to feel completely or somewhat free in leaving the house without permission. 
More than one-third of upper-income women (34%) felt completely or somewhat restricted leaving the house without permission, compared to 19% of low-income women.

1. From December 2009 through January 2010, the SWMENA survey was disseminated to 2,000 women and 500 men in Morocco.  The survey is designed to assess how women in Morocco view themselves as members of society, the economy and the polity.

2. “Income Adequacy” was determined by responses to the following question, “Tell me the answer which best reflects the current financial situation of your family/ household.” Women were categorized as low-income if they responded with “We do not have enough money” or “We have enough money for food,” as lower-middle-income if they responded with “We have enough money for well-balanced meals;” as upper-middle-income if they responded with “We have enough money for food and clothes; we can save some;” and as upper-income if they responded with “We can afford some expensive things” or “We can afford anything we want.”

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