By Lucie Gil, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
Two years before the target date fixed for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the launch of a post-MDGs agenda, it is interesting to have a look back to some of the improvements that have been made. Some would see the balance with a rather skeptical view, considering the unfulfilled objectives. However, listening to the speech that Moroccan Minister for Family, Social Development, and Solidarity, Nouzha Skalli gave at the ICD in 2010, that is ten years after the definition of the MDGs, we can also adopt an optimistic approach and take into account the long way that has already come along.
The Minister started by reminding us of the commitment of the Kingdom of Morocco to universal values such as human rights, freedom, equality and the recognition of cultural diversity. This last point must be underlined in the case of Morocco. People indeed often tend to forget that it is quite a varied country with a plurality of identities, though it might be threatened by globalization and extremist ideologies. As stated in the lecture, “the uniqueness of the human family is enriched by the diversity of one another. Another can be African, Arabic, Muslim, man or woman”.
Talking about “man or woman”, gender equality is actually the core point of the minister’s discourse. In the framework of the MDGs, the Kingdom of Morocco made significant efforts to improve women’s situation, opportunities and participation at all levels. Under the tenure of his majesty Mohamed VI, as well as very dynamic civil society organizations, initiatives ranging from legislative reforms to the mainstreaming of a gender dimension into economic and social development policies have been developed and implemented. Among others, 350 centers and cells have been opened to welcome victims of gender based-violence and the number of women in local councils increased from 0,5%, before the elections of 2009, to 12,8%. The pessimists would see the glass half-empty, stressing that less than 13% of female representatives is still very low. Once again, let’s rather see the one that is half-full: an improvement of 300% indeed appears as a hopeful sight.
Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy