Women’s Voices in Meknes
“Every woman has her life, has her thing to say” (Ouafae Bouzekri). Three women in a dark room with a leaky ceiling, trying to learn to sew and cook, was a sight that drew Prof. Ouafae Bouzekri, a formidable voice of strength in the women’s movement in Morocco, into supporting the work of the Association for the Protection of the Moroccan Family (APFM), an organization that promotes the betterment of families through the education of women and mothers.
Bouzekri quickly became an integral part of the association as she raised funds and began visiting the association on a regular basis to assist the members and be a role model for them as an educated, powerful, and successful woman. In fact, Bouzekri wears many hats, from teaching linguistics, gender studies, and cultural diversity in the English department at Moulay Ismail University, to conducting research to publish a book on women artists in the Meknes-Tafilalet region.
According to Bouzekri, her work with AFPM has been the most fruitful of her women’s rights activism in her country. Presently, AFPM members work in a building with no leaks, good lighting, and a brand new oven, which has given the association status to issue its members with a certificate of graduation from the Association, and to legally sell their goods commercially.
Oufae is a passionate, knowledgable, and outspoken member of the women’s movement in Meknes where she speaks outright on issues that are relatable for women in the community, such as street harassment and the responsibility of mothers to treat their daughters and sons equally. She also works to give women a voice with her research on women’s artists and her natural ability to inspire and provoke women to demand their own rights. She believes that, “every woman has her life, has her thing to say,” and that nothing should stop her from doing so. However, she understands that the mentality in the region promotes women to believe the opposite, so she does all she can to help make a change in the hearts and minds of Moroccan women.