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Opinions on the Family Law - Morocco

Next, a series of questions were asked of men and women who have heard at least a little about the Moudawana to gauge opinions on the law and support for it. The findings show there is a gender gap regarding support of the Moudawana.

  • Of those women who had heard at least a little about the Moudawana, a strong 85% of Moroccan women support the Code either strongly (48%) or somewhat (37%). Only 5% of women who had heard of the Moudawana strongly (2%) or somewhat (3%) oppose it (Figure 2).  Men, on the other hand, are less enthusiastic about the Moudawana. While still a majority 59% of men somewhat (45%) or strongly (14%) support the Moudawana, one third of men (30%) say they somewhat (18%) or strongly (12%) oppose it and 11% say they don’t know (Figure 3). This means three in ten men (30%), compared to less than one in ten women (5%), are opposed to the Moudawana.
  • There is also a gender difference in reasons for opposition to the Moudawana. Of those women who say they oppose the Moudawana, 23% say it is because it is just a theory and there have been no concrete actions, 17% say it adds nothing new to the women’s issue, 11% say it creates problems between couples, 10% believe there are some rules that are not beneficial for women, 8% say it is opposed to their religion, 6% say some women became arrogant, and 5% say the percentage of divorce has increased (Figure 4). 
  • Of men who oppose the Moudawana, 34% say it is because spouse demands are exaggerated, 17% say it is because the Moudawana requires the equal division of possessions between spouses after divorce and that this is against Islam, 15% say it is oppsed to their religion, 12% say it is because some women have become arrogant, 10% say after divorce the financial maintenance of the wife and children is imposed on man, 9% say it increases the reluctance to marry, and 9% say it creates problems between couples (Figure 5). As seen in Figures 4 and 5, the top two reasons women state for opposition to the Moudawana are completely different than those cited by men against the law. The top two reasons women are against the law involve dissatisfaction with the law in practice/enforcement of the law and the feeling the code doesn’t do enough for the rights of women. Women seem to have much higher expectations vis-à-vis the Family Law  than men do. The disappointment of surveyed women stems mainly from the slow implementation of the new law reforms and the resistance to the enforcement of these reforms on behalf of different conservative institutions. The top two reasons cited by men for opposing the Family Law center on dissatisfaction with the way they believe the law negatively impacts them. Men seem essentially worried about losing their long-held priviliges as the heads of the family and the main decision-makers in the household
  • When women aware of the Moudawana were asked how satisfied they are with the rights it gives to women, a majority of women say they are mostly satisfied. Sixty-two percent of women aware of the Moudawana say it gives sufficient rights to women and should not give any more, 18% of women believe the Moudawana needs to give more rights to women, 7% say the Moudawana gave too many rights to women, and 13% say they don’t know (Figure 6). Over half of men (52%), on the other hand, believe the Moudawana gave too many rights to women, 35% believe it gave women sufficient rights and only 2% believe it should give more rights to women (Figure 7).
  • When looking at satisfaction with the law by those women said they support or oppose the law, the data shows 71% of women who previously said they were opposed to the Moudawana say it needs to give more rights to women and only 19% of women opposed to the Moudawana say it gave too many rights to women. This highlights, again, most women’s opposition to the law has to do with disappointment with the current law rather than opposition to the tenets the law attempts to put forward. Seventy-two percent of women who previously said they support the law believe the law gives enough rights to women.
  • While it may be somewhat premature to judge the effectiveness of the Family Law only six years after its adoption and given the slow implementation of the different associated reforms, survey respondents were nevertheless asked whether they thought the Moudawana has improved or not the status of women in Morocco. Overall, two-thirds of Moroccan women said the adoption of the Moudawana has improved the status of women in Morocco (66%), while 18% said women’s status has stayed the same, 7% said it has worsened, and 9% said they don’t know. This sentiment is consistent amongst women of varying education levels, ages, and women in rural and urban areas. There is some speculation that the implementation of the Moudawana has varied from region to region. Our data shows that more women in North Morocco believe it has improved the status of women (72%) than in other regions: Central Morocco (65%), Greater Tensift (62%), and North Central Morocco (64%). Women in North Morocco are also the most likely to say they support the Moudawana compared to the other regions. This may be because more tribunals in North Morocco than in other regions have been recognizing divorced women’s rights to the accumulated assets during the marriage period which means that they have been respecting Article 49 of the Moudawana.
  • Meanwhile, half of men aware of the Moudawana say it has improved women’s status in Morocco (50%), 22% say it has worsened it, 17% say it has stayed the same and 10% do not know (Figure 8).