Moroccan women have a visible place in the workforce, primarily in health and education and to a lesser extent in the judiciary and legal professions. Laws have been enacted to affirm gender equality in the labor market, and to try to ensure that women have a greater role in politics. Women’s access to education has improved, and the national birthrate has declined—both indicators that women might have more opportunity to enter the workplace.
Yet, despite the new laws and positive appearances, the economic integration of women into the workforce in Morocco—and their ability to be financially independent—has diminished. Women’s participation in the labor market in 2012 was no more than 25 percent, compared to 30 percent in 1999. Often, there appears to be resistance on the ground to employing women, or to paying them as much as men. The new Moroccan family law holds that men should ‘provide for their family’s needs, while women can choose to contribute as their abilities allow’, which leads some people within Moroccan society to view women’s role within the national workforce as being secondary to men’s, or to their role as mothers. And although education is now compulsory, many families still withdraw girls from school, to remain at home until they are married.