Target: Abdelilah Benkirane, Prime Minister of Morocco
Goal: Demand that the Prime Minister resign following his assertion that Moroccan women should refrain from working outside the home
Men and women are guaranteed equality under the Moroccan constitution. The reality of life for woman in Morocco is often far from equal, however. Recent sexist comments by the country’s leader have shone a light on the ongoing oppression of women. Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane spoke before parliament to ask his nation, “Don’t you realize that when women went to work outside, the light went out of their homes?” Such behavior is completely unacceptable for a head of state, and protestors have called for his immediate resignation.
Nouzha Skalli, Morocco’s former Minister of Solidarity, Women and Family, criticized Prime Minister Benkirane as a “man of a backward vision,” saying “we will not accept his views at all. We refuse this humiliation from a person who believes a woman is like a chandelier inside the house.” A Twitter campaign inspired by the prime minister’s remarks has taken off under the hashtag “AnaMachiTria,” or “I Am Not A Chandelier.”
Apologizing for his remarks would be an important step, but Prime Minister Benkirane has made it clear that he is unfit to represent the Moroccan people. Stand in solidarity with Moroccan women and call for his immediate resignation.
Dear Prime Minister Benkirane,
Roughly half the citizens of Morocco are women, and yet according to the Thomas White Fund boys outnumber girls in primary and secondary schools 87 to 9. When the country’s Prime Minister makes statements equating women’s value as limited to her work as a wife and mother, how can Morocco ever hope to promote equality for the sexes?
Your comments before parliament, urging women to refrain from working outside the home, were nothing short of outrageous. It is unacceptable for a nation’s leader to promote sexist views such as these. On the one hand the Moroccan constitution guarantees equality for men and women, and officials’ claim to want a modern, quality education system. But on the other hand, according to you, women should desire nothing more out of life than to cook, clean and bear children.
Not only are your remarks outdated and discriminatory, but they are hypocritical as well. The Secretary General of the Istiqlal Party, Hamid Chabat, has responded by asking, “How can the Head of Government tell Moroccan women that their place is in the household rather than in the workplace while his wife works at a private school?”
I stand with the women of Morocco calling for your immediate resignation. Let those with a clear sense of duty to all Moroccans lead your country into the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D. via Wikimedia Commons