Opinions on Gender Quotas - Morocco
One of the objectives of the SWMENA survey in Morocco was to examine if ordinary citizens were supportive of legislation that is aimed to advance women’s rights and to promote their participation in political decision-making. For this reason, we asked respondents a series of questions about the system of gender quotas that was adopted in 2002, where 30 of the 325 seats in the Chamber of Representatives are reserved for female candidates.
- It is noteworthy that knowledge of gender quotas is alarmingly low. Very few Moroccans seem to be familiar with the notion of gender quotas even though the system of gender quotas has been in place since 2002 when political parties have agreed on a charter to reserve 30 seats for women on a special national list. Indeed, when asked how much they knew about the concept of gender quotas, a sweeping majority of Moroccan women (96%) said they have no knowledge at all about it (Figure 11). Knowledge of gender quotas is also very limited among Moroccan men but slightly higher than among women. Eighty-five percent of men also say they have no knowledge at all about gender quotas (Figure 12).
- Knowledge of gender quotas increases with educational attainment but it remains relatively low even for those who have a secondary education or higher. In fact, 78% of women with a secondary school education or higher say they have no knowledge at all about gender quotas. This compares to 12% who say they have at least a fair amount of knowledge and 10% who say they have limited knowledge about the concept. Among those with less than a secondary school education, at least nine in 10 women say they have no knowledge at all about gender quotas.
- When looking at knowledge of gender quotas by urban and rural settlements, we find that familiarity with this concept is extremely low at both levels but is slightly higher in urban areas where 6% of women say they have at least limited knowledge about the concept (Figure 13).
- When comparing those who voted in the local elections of June 2009 to those who did not vote, we still do not find any statistically significant differences in knowledge about quotas between women who casted a vote and those who did not.
- This highlights a major deficit in knowledge about gender quotas among the Moroccan population and suggests that women’s groups should perhaps be doing more efforts to spread awareness about this concept and its importance in ensuring a more active role for women in political life.
- Next, respondents who said they had at least a limited knowledge of gender quotas were asked if they supported or opposed the system of gender quotas in Morocco. Results show a slight gender split on this question. While majorities of both women (71%) and men (60%) strongly or somewhat support gender quotas, the proportion of men who strongly or somewhat oppose it (37%) is higher by 20 percentage points than the proportion of women who oppose it (17%). Also, of the men who support gender quotas, we see only 12% strongly support them and 48% of men somewhat support them. This compares to 40% of women who strongly support quotas and 30% who somewhat support. It must be noted too that three times as many women (12%) than men (4%) say they don’t know if they support or oppose the system of gender quotas in Morocco (Figure 14). Again, this highlights the lack of knowledge on the gender quotas. There are no significant differences in opinions on gender quotas when breaking down results by age, education, or urban/rural settlement.
- Those who support gender quotas were asked to cite the main reasons for supporting them. Among women, the top reasons for supporting quotas are that women should have the same rights as men (39%), that elected bodies should represent major social groups in society/ women are half the population and should be represented (28%) and that women should have a role in political life (21%) (Figure 15).
- Among men, the top four reasons for supporting gender quotas are similar to those cited by women but in a slightly different order. In the fifth position, 6% of men mention that they support gender quotas because women in elected office would focus on new policy concerns or issues that men officials would not focus on. Among women, the fifth mentioned reason for supporting gender quotas is out of their belief that the current political system is male-dominated and unjust (Figure 16).
- Of note, while the SWMENA survey included probing questions to find out the reasons for opposing gender quotas, the sample sizes are too small to be able to draw robust conclusions from the following questions.
- When asked if they thought the system of gender quotas has been effective in giving women an important role in political issues, again we observed a gender split in opinions. Two-thirds of Moroccan women believe the system of gender quotas has been very or somewhat effective in giving women an important role in political issues compared with a much lower 48% of Moroccan men. In fact, 43% of Moroccan men believe the system of gender quotas has been very or somewhat ineffective compared with only 13% of women who share the same opinion (Figure 17).
- Respondents were asked if they would voluntarily vote for a woman candidate in parliamentary elections if the law on gender quotas was not used in Morocco. Answers were very different between men and women with women showing more willingness to vote for woman candidates while men were more likely to give a conditional support: seven in 10 women said yes, they would vote for a woman candidate if the system of quotas was not in place versus only four in 10 men. Thirteen percent of men said no, they would not vote for a woman candidate if the system of gender quotas was not in place. None of the women respondents said no. Meanwhile, 22% of women said it would depend on the woman candidate’s qualifications versus 46% of men. When breaking down these results by other demographic characteristics, such as education, age and location, we did not observe any statistically significant differences in opinions (Figures 18 & 19).
- Respondents were also asked if they believe women in parliament represent women in Morocco and their particular needs. The gender split in opinions on this question was even more pronounced. While a sweeping majority of women (87%) strongly or somewhat agree with the statement that women in parliament represent women in Morocco and their specific needs, a plurality of men (47%) disagree with the statement and only 35% agree. Meanwhile, 18% of men said they don’t know if women in parliament represent women in Morocco and 8% of women also said they did not know (Figure 20).
- Country: Morocco
- Topic: Attitudes On Policy Change
This report is part of Opinions on the Family Law and Gender Quotas Topic Brief