“Journees de la Femme Muslim,”
June 19-20, 2013.
Women’s Voices Now
19 June, Wednesday
Exposition: Protection of the Moroccan family (8 Rue Ferhat Hachad, next to the French Institute)
16:30 - 17:30 Reception exhibition embroidery, clothing and decoration
17:30 - student artists vocal showcase
18:00 - “You Can Dream…” by: Cortney Healy. To be followed by a panel discussion addressing themes within the film.
19:00 - Amal Chakrouni, president of the association IPDFM (Initiatives pour la Promotion de Droits des Femmes Marocaines) – their role in the fight against domestic violence.
19:30 - Professeur Zohra Lhioui “La femme Marocaine et le syndicalisme”
20:00 - Maitre Abla Bouzekri:“l’analyse de l’article 49 du code de la famille”
20:30 - Maitre Bignach – Experience as a law consultant at the IPDFM
20 June, Thursday
18:00 - Ouafae Bouzekri - Protection of the Moroccan Family
18:30 - Majda Alaoui, Clinic Meknes
19:00-20:30 - “Deux femmes sur la route (Trek Layalat)” directed by Farida Bourquia. To be followed by a panel discussion addressing themes within the film.
On Wednesday the 19th of June, ISA’s volunteer and intern program ELAP paired with Women’s Voices Now to host the event: Journees de la Femme Muslim which addressed how to improve the treatment, challenges, and conditions that Moroccan women face. The event opened with ELAP’s own Kelly Blake singing a beautiful women’s tribal song called Freyo in the Haitian language, Creole. This invoked the attention of the intimate crowd and coerced them all into a joint clap, enjoying a song that all the English, French, and Darija speakers could equally enjoy. Following Blake’s song WVN’s Elyse Whitehead eloquently introduced the event in all three of the languages required by the crowd. She spoke briefly on the object of WVN’s current world tour and set the stage for both the film and the speakers that were to come. The film, You Can Dream: Stories of Moroccan Women Who Do, made by Courtney Healy showed the lives of six Moroccan women who overcame their personal obstacles in pursuit of their dreams to make Date coffee, teach within their community, and sew clothes. The film was powerful especially for the Moroccan men and women in the crowd who fully understand the struggles that the women in the film face.
Following the film speakers Amal Chakrouni, Abla Bouzekri and Souhra Lhioui came to the stage along with translator for the evening Ouafae Bouzekri. Amal Chakrouni, president of the Initiatives pour la Promotion de Droits des Femmes Morcaines (IPDFM), spoke first on the organizations role in fighting domestic violence. The IPDFM has a myriad of ways in which it tackles this goal including listening centers, informing women on their rights under the Moudawana and having roundtable discussions on those rights, and providing a lawyer for women whose rights have been violated or women who need help with divorce. Chakrouni also spoke of her goals to establish listening centers at high schools and universitities to better reach the youth population of Morocco. Chakrouni’s informative speech was followed by Maitre Abla Bouzekri who adressed and educated the crowd on Article 49 of the family code, which leaves many women with nothing after divorce. Wives’ contributions in the house are often ignored because she is not bringing in a paycheck. Bouzekri implored that their is an imbalance in the value of labor and that women’s work in the home should be recognized as a valid contribution and thereby a means to recieve equal assets in the case of divorce.Bouzekri spoke of her efforts to raise awareness on this issue and invoke social change. Closing the speeches for the evening was Professor Zohra Lhioui who fights for higher representation of women in unions. She spoke to the obstaces women face in this arena such as; women’s inability to be on union boards due to time constraints as many women are double burdened with housework and their jobs, union meetings are on a man’s schedule and are therefore often hosted very late when women have to be home with the children, and furthermore the important decisions are made at the end of meetings when even the more persistent women truly can no longer be present. Lhioui spoke of her desire to change the social mentality and invoke political and union gender equality whilst stressing that women must band together to make this happen.
Closing out the night was a short question and answer session where the women struck a tone of empowerment along with their answers. The questions from the crowd begged the women to implore how these things can be conquered and what is most important in helping these goals be realized. The most shocking and powerful answer came from the translator for the evening and president of the Protection of the Moroccan Family org., Ouafae Bouzekri, who demanded the women in the crowd to empower themselves. She instructed women to never allow a man to demean her, to stick up for herself and her rights always, and to treat her children equally (hinting at women in Morocco treating their sons as Kings). Other powerful thoughts amongst the Q and A portion of the evening were that women have a special ability to go strongly and unyieldingly in the direction of their passions and that if the women in Morocco decide together to believe in a cause fully and band together behind it, then they cannot be stopped. The evening provided many wonderfully powerful moments as well as much information for the women and men alike in attendance. It was a successful first night of the event which continued on Thursday where there was a shortened version of the night with speakers Oufae Bouzekri and Majda Alaoui as well as a film, Deux femmes sur la route, directed by Farida Bourquia.
By: Liz Vaughn
Google map and directions