On April 4, 2018, Jossour held a meeting with the Moroccan Association for Combating Violence Against Women (AMVEF) in Casablanca to debate the content of a new law (Law 103/13) protecting women against violence. A team of lawyers, women’s rights advocates, and policy influencers collected and discussed testimonies from professionals in the field who are concerned with the law, and interested in evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. These testimonies contributed to assessing the details of the law, proposing some modifications, and suggesting the removal of some constraints within the law.
In September 2018, Law 103/13 titled Elimination of Violence Against Women passed in the Moroccan parliament. The law criminalizes all forms of gender-based discrimination, including public harassment, sexual assault, and cybercrimes. The law also defines several forms of violence: violence against women, physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and economic violence and describes the repercussions of each offense. The law also established a national committee to support the victims of violence and to be in charge of women’s affairs in general. However, when the parliament passed Law 103-13, the parliament did not accept all the modifications proposed by the lawyers and women leaders who met in Casablanca. The reason behind this political fact is that the majority of Parliamentarians are of the same party as the government- a party that is still not prioritizing women’s issues. However, the fight goes on.
In February 2019, Jossour held a meeting bringing together those involved in the application of Law 130/13 to study further their daily interactions in court and its shortcomings. More meetings will be held over the course of this project to monitor the practice of the law from the perspectives of those implementing it, such as judges, especially women judges, and public prosecutors from various courts and diverse regions in Morocco. Ultimately, gathering legal opinions and approaches can be used as a reference in future practice of this law, and can deepen the understanding of its implications in order to continue proposing additional modifications so Law 130/13 can respond better to women’s rights of protection from violence.
Soumicha Ryaha, a WPP leader and member of the National Council of Human Rights of Casablanca explained that “the purpose of the law is to preserve the dignity and rights of women because laws can not alone protect them and that it is the responsibility of everyone to further develop this law.”
Saadia Waddah, a WPP leader, lawyer at the Casablanca Bar Association and member of the Moroccan Association to Combat Violence Against Women said about meeting with those who are involved with this law: “It is important to listen to the opinions of judges, especially women judges and public prosecutors of different courts from areas like Casablanca, Mohammedia, and Benslimane.” To them, she poses the questions, “How do they operate with the new law? What are the obstacles they’ve found? What are the benefits of this law?”
2-DAY SYMPOSIUM ON GENDER AT MOH’D V UNIVERSITY (2019)
YOUTH WORKSHOPS ON GENDER AND LEADERSHIP (2018-19)
Following the success of the Rabat leadership workshop in September 2018, a number of the emerging youth leaders who participated at the workshop partnered with Jossour and Director May Rihani to hold several more leadership workshops in their communities and at various disperse rural communities in Morocco. In September, the workshop unfolded in the span of three days of activities and was delivered by Director May Rihani while, in comparison, the youth leadership workshops were conducted in one day and were delivered by several of the youth leaders. The empowering energy surrounding these young leaders is significant, and this is one of the major success of this project. The workshops were inspired by the September workshop and highlighted key topics about leadership such as the necessary skills that increase productivity and results, the many facets of ethical and effective leadership, the traits and characteristics (such as honesty and anticipating change) of a good leader, and much more.
MOROCCAN WOMEN IN THE MEDIA (2018)
Rhizlaine Benachir, WPP Project Officer coordinated a panel on “The image of women through Moroccan cinema” on May 14, 2018, in Rabat. The purpose was to explore creating a game changer film that portrays women as empowered participators in society. An objective was to bring together two groups of stakeholders in gender equality and the portrayal of women in film--this was the first time progressive filmmakers and women’s organizations in Morocco had joined forces. Panel members included Nabil Ayouch, a renowned French-Moroccan award-winning television director, producer, and writer.
Major outcomes were: the first time these two groups of stakeholders began to collaborate; a follow-up meeting held; exploration of a court metrage to illuminate both WPP’s Key Issues “Violence Against Women” and “Equality and Citizenship.” The follow-up meeting with WPP, Nabil Ayouch and 20 men and women participants on May 30 established an agreement to work together in the longer term. A program outcome was the decision to: establish a task force to train young women and young men together in social network management and to equip them to disseminate messages on women's equality.
All Attendees at all events were policy influencers and came from NGO's, women's organizations, trade unions, community organizations, services to assist battered women, the media, etc., except for the Tetouan events where women artisan attendees were policy advocates in training. In terms of the outcome of amplifying and mainstreaming the message of the Women's Portrayal in the Media event, press coverage vastly increased the number of policy influencers engaged in addition to the media themselves. The top Moroccan television station, Al Aoula, highlighted the Rabat meeting on the portrayal of women in the media in their Prime Time news, through an interview with Rhizlaine Benachir, the Vice President of JossourFFM, and Nabil Ayouch the day after the event, on May 15, 2018. Appearance on a prime-time nightly news slot signifies the regard of a mainstream audience for this work. The event and discussion on changing mindsets regarding women in Morocco was also reported in Tanmia.ma, an online news site, that wrote about the event. The meeting was also reported in Le Matin, a Moroccan newspaper, emphasizing the idea of Rhizlaine Benachir regarding the collaboration with Nabil Ayouch in order to portray Moroccan women in a way that reflects women's new roles as a result of the empowerment process. Le Matin emphasized the importance of women's organizations and the progressive media and film collaborating to address mindsets on women's gender roles and progress. Further broadcasting the message of women, equality and women’s portrayal in the media was the online publication Monasso.ma.
Links to press coverage:
Al Aoula news episode, in which this story is aired from minute 27:00 to 28:45. http://www.alaoula.ma/infos.php?lang=fr&jt_date=15-05-2018&rep=jtfinal
The Jossour Forum of Moroccan Women recorded a video series titled #wach_metafkin (“Do we agree?”) of various Moroccan women and men testing their knowledge of and reactions to Moroccan proverbs. The series is comprised of 16 videos that discuss negative connotations in common proverbs including those that incite casual misogyny and “verbal violence” against women. These proverbs are used in the daily life of Moroccans. Through these videos, through interviewing 16 mainly young men and women and listening to their reactions when they hear these traditional proverbs, Jossour seeks to change “inherited” mindsets around men and women in Moroccan society. Jossour is using the voices of many youth leaders to challenge the traditional understanding and accepting of unequal gender roles. The videos project the thinking of a new Moroccan generation that is searching for greater respect for women and their rights.
[Link: https://youtu.be/X74RVzl5G_U “آن الآوان لتغيير العقلية النمطية الموروثة عن الأمثال الشعبية اتجاه المرأة”]
SESSION ON WOMEN AND DEMOCRACY WITH AICHA BELARBI (2019)
On February 27, Jossour invited Moroccan writer, academician, former minister, former ambassador, and activist Aicha Belarbi for a session on gender and equality through poetry and literature. Belarbi shared insights from her laborious career as a sociologist, writer and poet, and activist for democracy and human rights. A poster of this event is attached in the appendices. Photos can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1213328872167174&set=pcb.1213335052166556&type=3&theater