Morocco's workplace gender gap widens

Article Summary
Less than one in four Moroccan women are employed.

Working women in Morocco have a hard life. In its second report on gender equality in the workplace, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC) described the employment situation of Moroccan women as alarming.

In its 2012 report, ESEC made clear recommendations to the government to fight discrimination against women. In the new report, released on Nov. 27, 2014, ESEC focuses on the realities of female employment and the "ineffective" laws working against women. For the second time, ESEC has made recommendations to the government. Telquel runs through it, in figures.

Less than one in four women are employed

2.74: In millions, the total number of employed women. Of those who work, 1.03 million are employed in urban areas and 1.71 million work in rural areas.

22.7%: The female employment rate in Morocco (ratio between the number of people employed and the total number of individuals), which means that less than one in four women has a job.

26.8%: The percentage of women in a labor force of 11.3 million people.

30%: The female employment rate exceeds 30% in agricultural areas, such as Doukkala, Souss-Massa-Draa and Gharb.

130 out of 142 countries: Morocco’s rank worldwide, in terms of the wage gap between men and women. The kingdom is toward the low end of the ranking, below other Arab countries such as Qatar, Kuwait and Tunisia.

Women: Victims of illegal practices

73.2%: The percentage of rural women under the age of 15 who are employed. ESEC considered this type of employment to be a "form of outright exploitation of children of school age, which must be denounced." Moreover, underage labor is a violation of children's rights, as it denies “girls the right to access to education and training.”

78.9%: The percentage of women working in the textile sector who have not been eligible for paid maternity leave.

87.5%: The percentage of women working without a written contract in rural areas. This figure drops to 54.2% in urban areas. Such women are "working without a written contract and therefore they are not covered by the labor law.” It should also be noted that text regulating employment and working conditions of domestic workers has not been adopted yet.

Women: Excluded from decision-making posts

0.1%: The percentage of women holding decision-making positions in private companies in the trade, industry and services fields.

0.38%: The percentage of female union representatives.

6%: The percentage of women occupying the post of "secretary general" in public services, and 11% of women are directors.

7%: The percentage of women administrators in the country’s largest public companies. Women represent 11% of directors in listed companies.

12%: The percentage of management posts occupied by women.

50%: Women are absent from governance bodies in more than half of listed companies in Morocco.

ESEC recommendations

To counteract the problems that hinder gender equality in the workplace, the ESEC report included four recommendations to the government.

The council suggests that the government "acquire efficient instruments and consistent indicators … that allow an understanding of the effectiveness of gender equality in the economic sector as a tool for reducing inequality." This is a measure that falls in line with the "definition of indicators produced by the various agencies (in particular the Higher Planning Commission), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and ILO [International Labour Organization] standards.”

This means that, among other things, Morocco should adopt a law enshrining 15 as the minimum age for employment. The recommendations call for the category of "housewife," which normalizes the sexist representation of women, to be replaced by the following two categories: "Adult persons running a household " and "school children." The council, headed by Nizar Baraka, recommends the establishment of a national employment observatory that issues regular reports on women’s participation in economic activities and the discrimination they face.

ESEC also recommends the establishment of a "favorable environment for economic equality between women and men and a balance between work and family responsibilities.” The measure would involve ratifying the ILO Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention and implementing it in accordance with the Family Code that establishes the joint responsibility of both parents within a family. The council also suggests the establishment of "information, training and awareness campaigns [focusing] on the prevention of discrimination in administrations and businesses."

The council also mentions facilitating access to employment for women. The measures accompanying this suggestion include the adoption of "incentives and granting the right … to tax benefits for private companies that establish [gender] parity in their various bodies." To promote female access to employment, ESEC also calls for the promotion of a "skills training and for girls to access all courses offered in the male-dominated industries.”

Finally, Baraka’s organization urges the promotion and support of women's entrepreneurship through the development of support mechanisms for female entrepreneurs in different parts of the kingdom. ESEC also recommends that the government encourage "the access of women's enterprises to tenders in public and private sectors, to ensure male and female businesses equal access to markets."

Found in: workforce, women's rights, morocco, gender discrimination, employment

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