Gender Gap Index[1]

Gender Gap Index 2014
Overall Economic Participation Political Empowerment Educational Attainment
Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score
133 0.599 135 0.400 98 0.110 116 0.919
(Rank: out of 142 countries) (Score: 0.00 = inequality, 1.00 = equality)


Family Code/ Personal Status Law


  • Under the Family Code (Moudawana) of 2004, the legal minimum age for marriage is 18 years for both men and women (it was previously 15 years for women).
  • However, marriage under that age is legal with the permission of a judge and the minor’s guardians.
  • According to Government statistics from 2010, judges granted minors the right to marry in 90% of cases before them. The data show that there were more than 34,000 marriages of minors that year. National statistics from 2004 estimated that the number of girls between 15 and 19 years of age who were married, divorced, separated or widowed was 11.1%.
  • Under Morocco's 2004 Family Code, mothers and fathers share parental authority and have the same rights and responsibilities. Husbands and wives have formal reciprocal rights on a number of issues, including management of the household, childrearing, family planning, and legal cohabitation. Nonetheless, discrimination continues to exist. Men continue to be the legal guardian of children. Women may only act as the legal guardian is the father is absent or incapacitated.


  • The 2004 Family Code eradicated the concept of repudiation, i.e. a husband’s right to unilaterally divorce his wife, and the reform gave Moroccan women the right to divorce on the same grounds as men
  • Under the Family Code, the mother is the first choice for custody of children.
  • Divorced women no longer automatically forfeit custody of their children if they remarry or choose to live in a different town

Resources and Assets

  • Moroccan women have the same ownership rightsto land as men, but tradition often limits those rights. Despite a favourable legal framework, women’s access to land is often restricted, particularly in rural areas, and few women own land. Where they do male relatives often manage it.
  • Women are legally entitled to access to non-land assets and to manage such property as they wish. Under Morocco’s standard matrimonial system, spouses retain their own property. Women own only 7%of the Moroccan land.
  • With regards to access to financial services, women in Morocco have difficulty obtaining credit from traditional banks on the same conditions as men. In response, the government has launched numerous initiatives to support women’s entrepreneurship, including trainings, income-generating projects and micro-credit initiatives targeted at women.
  • Inheritance rights, under the Family Code, are unequal. Daughters inherit half the share passed on to sons. Moreover, if there are no sons, daughters do not inherit all of their parents’ estate; part of it is distributed amongst aunts and uncles.


  • The amended Labour Code, adopted in 2004, prohibits gender discrimination in employment, salaries, and promotion. According to the UN, protections to employees under the law do not apply to female migrant labourers and domestics (although a law on domestic labour is currently being discussed in Parliament).
  • Morocco offers 14 weeks of maternity leave at 100% of a woman's wages, payable from a national social security fund. The Labour Code also includes three days paternity leave at full pay. A pregnant woman is also entitled to an additional year of unpaid leave if so desired.
  • It is not clear how well these maternity protections cover women who work in the informal sector and who are not paid cash wages; for example, 92% of employed women in rural areas work in the agricultural sector.
  • Sexual Harassment is criminalised in Morocco only in limited situations. An amendment to Morocco’s  Labour Code and Penal Code in 2003 recognises sexual harassment in the workplace as an offence when committed by an employer, the head of the company, or the institution against the employee.


  • There is no specific legislation in place in Morocco to protect women from domestic violence, although general provisions against assault included in the Criminal Code can be applied.
  • Rape is a criminal offence in Morocco.
  • However, marital rape is not criminalized and before January 2014, under Article 475 of the Criminal Code, it was possible for a rapist to escape imprisonment if he agreed to marry his victim

Political Participation

Women's Political Participation Year Total Source
Number of women in parliament (single/lower house) 2014


IPU database
% of women in parliament 2014 16.96%
Legislated quotas for women for single/ lower house (yes/no) 2014 YES The Quota Project database
Number of women in ministerial positions 2014 6/39            


  • Women have had the same right to vote and stand for election as men since independence in 1956.
  • Article 19 of the 2011 Constitution establishes that men and women should enjoy equal rights and freedoms in all civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental matters.


  • 305 of the 395 members of the lower house are elected in 92 multi-member constituencies through a proportional representation system. An additional 60 seats are reserved for women, while 30 are reserved for young men under the age of 40. Reserved seats for women are filled by winners elected through a proportional representation system, which is based on nation-wide, closed party lists (Article 23 (2) of the Organic Law No. 27-11 on the House of Representatives).
  • This system, legislated through the 2011 electoral reforms, builds upon the previous 'honorary agreement' between the political parties, formed in 2002, which reserved 30 seats for women
  • Lists of candidates that violate the provisions of Article 23, including the quota requirements, shall be rejected (Article 24 (2)).


  • Majilis Al-Nouwab/ House of Representatives (Lower House) Last elected 2011: 67/395 (16.96%) female representatives, directly elected
  • Majilis Al-Mustacharin/ House of Councillors (Upper House) Last elected 2009: 6/270 (2.22%) female representatives, indirectly elected (Three fifths of the House is made up of members elected from each region by an electoral college composed of local government representatives; and the remaining two fifths is made up of members elected in each region by electoral colleges) and of members elected at the national level by an electoral college composed of employees' representatives (trade unions).)
  • In the current Government, there are 6 females in the 39-member cabinet.     


  • In its 2008 Concluding Observations on Morocco, the Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) noted its concern at the role played by the Moroccan media in perpetuating negative and limiting stereotypes regarding gender roles in society.
  • The 2010 Freedom House report noted that media consistently portray women only as homemakers and mothers, fail to use gender-sensitive language, and downplay women’s achievements in the public sphere

CEDAW and reservations[7]

  • Morocco ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1993, with reservations and interpretative declarations  to the following articles (2, 9:2, 15:4, 16, and 29):
  • In 2011, Morocco lifted its reservations on articles 9(2) and 16, which stated the following:
  • With regard to article 9, paragraph 2: The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco makes a reservation with regard to this article in view of the fact that the Law of Moroccan Nationality permits a child to bear the nationality of its mother only in particular circumstances.
  • With regard to article 16: The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco makes a reservation with regard to the provisions of this article, particularly those relating to the equality of men and women, in respect of rights and responsibilities on entry into and at dissolution of marriage. Equality of this kind is considered incompatible with the Islamic Shari'ah.
  • Morocco maintained its reservations and interpretative declarations on other articles:
  • With regard to article 2: The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco express its readiness to apply the provisions of this article provided that:
  • They are without prejudice to the constitutional requirement that regulate the rules of succession to the throne of the Kingdom of Morocco;
  • They do not conflict with the provisions of the Islamic Shari'ah.
  • With regard to article 15, paragraph 4: The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco declares that it can only be bound by the provisions of this paragraph, in particular those relating to the right of women to choose their residence and domicile, to the extent that they are not incompatible with articles 34 and 36 of the Moroccan Code of Personal Status.
  • With regard to article 29: The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco does not consider itself bound by the first paragraph of this article, which provides that 'Any dispute between two or more States Parties concerning the interpretation or application of the present Convention which is not settled by negotiation shall, at the request of one of them, be submitted to arbitration.
  • In addition, the Council of Ministers and the Council of Government adopted in November 2012 a draft law to ratify the Optional Protocol on the CEDAW.  However, to date, the law has still not been presented before the Parliament.

Economic Empowerment[7]

Women's Economic Participation Year Total Source
Labour Force Participation
Ratio of female to male labour force participation 2014 0.34 World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Labour force participation, female (% of total labour force) 2013 27% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Labour force participation, female (% of female population 15-64) 2012 26.9%
Labour force participation, male (% of male population 15-64) 2012 78.8%
Youth Employment
Ratio of female to male youth unemployment rate (% aged 15-24) 2012 87.2% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Unemployment, female (% of female labour force) 2014 9.9% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Unemployment, male (% of male labour force) 2014 8.7%
Unemployment, total (% of total labour force) 2012 9% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Firms with female participation in ownership (% of firms) 2014 13% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Boards and Upper Management
Share of women on boards of listed companies (%) 2014 7% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Sectors of Work
Agriculture (% of female employment) 2008 59.2% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Agriculture (% of male employment) 2008 34.2%
Women employed in non-agricultural sector (% of total non-agricultural employment) 2014 21% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Industry (% of female employment) 2008 24% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Industry (% of male employment) 2008 15.4%
Services (% of female employment) 2008 25.3%
Services (% of male employment) 2008 41.6%
Vulnerable employment (% of female employment) 2008 64.6%
Vulnerable employment (% of male employment) 2008 51.9%
Employers, female (% of employment) 2008 0.8%
Employers, male (% of employment) 2008 3.2%


  • According to a 2011 Government report, the labour force participation rate for women in the formal sector was 25.5%, and a typical female worker earned 17% of what a man earned. Women were not represented in the leadership of trade unions. [9] 

Sectors of Work

  • Women in Morocco are concentrated in certain jobs, for example, comprising 80% of textile workers.

[1] World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014:
[2] All information on legislation has been sourced from the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index, 2014: Unless stated otherwise.
[8] All information on economic empowerment has been sourced from the World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank: Unless stated otherwise.