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Household and Family Decisions - Morocco

Women were asked about different categories of decision-making, regarding economic as well as parental and social concerns, in order to learn about family and household relationships and women’s relative autonomy over what they view as important.
As Figure 13 displays, most currently or formerly married women report that either they, or they and their husbands together, make decisions about daily household and family needs. Only when it comes to making daily household purchases do a large number of respondents report that their husbands are the sole decision-makers (26%), and in this case women alone are just as likely to make such decisions (26%), so that control over daily household budgets can be held by either men or women among those who are married.

  • Married women who earn wages are more likely than those who do not earn wages to have decision-making power over daily household purchases (40% vs 25%), deciding when to pursue medical treatment for themselves (46% vs 35%), and punishing misbehaving children (31% vs 21%).
  • Of the daily household decisions addressed by the survey, women are most likely to be the decision-maker about inviting guests to their home (40%), and least likely to be solely in charge of deciding when and how to punish children for misbehaving (22%)
  • Nearly half of respondents report that visits to family and friends are a joint decision between them their husband (47%), and more than four in ten report joint decision-making when it comes to inviting guests into their home (41%), getting medical treatment for the respondent (42%), and deciding punishments for misbehaving children (44%).
  • Women with greater educational attainment are more likely to report that they and their husbands make all decisions jointly and less likely to report that their husbands are the sole decision makers. Amazigh-speaking women are more likely than Arabic-speakers to report that their husbands make all daily decisions addressed in the survey.

Decision-making power is divided very differently when it comes to major household or family issues. Although between one in three and half of respondents reported that daily household decisions can made by either the woman or her spouse alone, major family decisions are much more likely to be handled either jointly or by someone else in the family.

  • Of the major family decisions asked about, only when it comes to making large household purchases (23%) and  buying a house (22%) did more than one in ten women report that their husbands are the sole decision maker, and about half of women report making these decisions jointly.
  • Forty-six percent of women report allowing their children to decide what type of schooling they will receive (another 1% say the grandparents will make this decision), and 58% say their children will choose their own spouse (again, 1% report that grandparents will decide). However, nearly one in five women report that she, her husband, or both together will select their children’s spouses.
  • Amazigh-speaking women are more likely than their Arabic-speaking counterparts to say that their husbands make any of the important family decisions asked about, while Arabic-speakers are more likely to say that such decisions are shared.
  • Women who work for pay are more likely than those who don’t to say that they and their husbands share decision-making power when it comes to making large household purchases (60% versus 47%) and buying a house (62% versus  50%)

As shown in Figure 15, spouses tend to share decision-making about large household purchases, but that arrangement appears to be different among older respondents. A plurality of women aged 18 to 24 (45%) reports sharing such decisions, and one in four says her husband alone makes these decisions. Nine percent of young women reported that their parents or in-laws make these decisions, and just 6% of respondents said they alone were responsible for making these choices. Decision-making responsibilities largely follow this pattern for women up to age 54, although respondents 25 and over have more decision-making power than in-laws and parents. Women 55 and older are more likely than their husbands to be the decision maker in their household, though a plurality continues to make decisions jointly. From age 55 on, a substantial number of women report that their children make decisions about large household purchases; among those aged 65 and older more than one in five (22%) say so. Respondents aged 65 and older indicate that they themselves, their children, and they and their husbands share decision making power roughly equally, while their husbands are significantly less likely to make decisions alone than among younger respondents.

Women living in rural areas are significantly more likely than those in urban areas to report that their husband is the sole decision maker for all major family decisions, but the difference is only large when it comes to making large household purchases (33%  versus 15%) and buying a house (28%  versus 17%).