Focus on Morocco | Opinions on the Family Law and Gender Quotas - Topic Brief

Publication Date: 
21 Jun 2010

Publication Type:


One of the principal objectives of the SWMENA survey was to examine the level of popular support for law reforms that have the potential to enhance women’s participation in the social and political realms. The Morocco Family Law, known as the Moudawana, which was adopted in 2004, continues to draw much debate among the Moroccan populace and advocacy groups. The introduction of gender quotas in 2002 to reserve 30 seats for women on a national list in Parliament increased the representation of women in elected bodies but continues to raise questions about the effectiveness of gender quotas and how ordinary citizens felt about this system. This topic brief thus presents the main findings from the SWMENA survey on the Family Law and gender quotas.

Awareness of the Family Law (Moudawana)
The Moudawana, or Family Law, is a decree of Majesty King Mohamed VI that was adopted by Parliament in 2004. The Moudawana establishes guarantees for women such as setting a minimum marriage age of 18, allowing for easier divorce, granting the ability of mothers to pass citizenship to their children, and providing other assurances for women in Morocco. Respondents to this survey were asked a series of questions about the Moudawana to understand how aware women in Morocco are of this law and to gather their opinions of it.

  1. First, when asked how much they had heard of the Moudawana, a third of Moroccan women say they have heard a lot about it (31%), over half of women in Morocco (57%) have heard a little about it, and 11% have heard nothing at all about the Family Law. Similar percentages of men have heard about the Moudawana with 38% of men saying they have heard a lot, 56% have heard a little and 7% have heard nothing at all.
  2. There are varying levels of awareness of the Moudawana between women who live in urban and rural areas, women of different education levels, and women of different ages. As education levels increase for women, the percentage of those saying they have heard a lot about the Moudawana increases as well. Women in urban areas are also more likely to have heard a lot about the Moudawana (43%) compared to women in rural areas (16%). Additionally, younger women ages 18-44 are more likely to have heard a lot about the Moudawana compared to women ages 45 and older.


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