Benkirane calls gender equality defenders ‘ignorant,’ defends underage marriages

Benkirane calls gender equality defenders ‘ignorant,’ defends underage marriages

The Secretary-General of the Justice and Development Party, Abdelilah Benkirane, said that he opposes the demands for gender equality put forth by the progressive women’s movement.

Benkirane labeled those advocating for gender equality as “ignorant” during an interactive session with the Women of Justice and Development organization on November 12.

Benkirane said that while the slogan of equality may sound good, it disrupts the balance of the family. He pointed out that what is required is justice and fairness, not equality, stressing that women in the Western world themselves are beginning to realize that what is happening to them is not healthy. 

“Nowadays, when you hear about equality, it sounds good, but there is no real equality; there is equality in some matters,” said the former head of government.

Benkirane said that “Islam did not equate between men and women, but it assigned the husband the responsibility of taking care of her,” while acknowledging the work that women do in caring for their families and working outside the home.

Benkirane clarified that Moroccan society is not just a minority of women advocating for women’s rights living in comfortable economic conditions with high compensations and salaries. Rather, it consists of women facing difficult or ordinary circumstances, demanding justice, not equality.

“Society is not Simone de Beauvoir, Latifa Jbabdi, and Bouayach, who earn five or six million and more. Rather, society consists of women in general who understand this but are unable to speak out,” Benkirane said. 

Benkirane mentioned in his speech that the call made by some to exclude religion from discussions on the Family Code and family matters stems “from a philosophy that has disrupted the world.”

Benkirane added that this philosophy, detached from any religious or ethical principles, has “led to the West questioning the definition of man and woman, emphasizing that a significant and perilous transformation is taking place that challenges humanity.”

Benkirane said that the “family structure in the West has been eradicated, warning that some want us to be in the same situation, cautioning that the demands of these individuals threaten families with ruin.”

Concerning the demand for wealth-sharing after divorce, raised by some associations and women, the Secretary-General explained that “this demand would discourage young people from getting married. It will increase divorce rates and result in clear injustice, whether on men or women.”

“By what right am I going to earn money and then give half of it to my wife once we divorce? By what right should I get half of the money she earns after divorce? My money is my money, and her money is her money,” said Benkirane.

Benkirane further explained that if a wife “endures patiently with her husband until his death, she inherits one eighth. But, if she gets divorced, she will leave with half of his fortune, and may not even be a mother to his children,” 

Benkirane also opposed the demand to prohibit the marriage of underage girls, stating, “when a girl continues her education, there is no problem. However, how can one reject the marriage of a girl in rural areas whose father cannot provide for her, and she has become a woman by the standards of her environment?” 

“If her marriage is rejected until she reaches the age of eighteen, will the suitor return to propose to her? And if he does not return, who will bear the responsibility for that girl?” Benkirane questioned. 

Addressing the issue of abortion, Benkirane asserted that the logic behind supporting it is flawed, as it involves the direct killing of fetuses. 


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