A report published by Oxfam in Morocco reveals that poverty and social norms perpetuate gender inequalities in the country. Figures show that 50% of the population own less than 5% of the total wealth, and children are the first victims of poverty and vulnerability, with 35.4% of the poor population and 28% of the vulnerable population 0 to 14 years old.
In addition, 148,000 children are economically active in 2021, or 2% of the population aged 7 to 17. About 59.4% of them perform dangerous work, and this concerns 1.2% of children in this age group, underlines the report by Oxfam whose MoroccoLatestNews UK holds copy.
Entitled “ Small hands, big chores – The domestic work of little girls: an offense to Moroccan childhood “, the report notes that the triggers of this situation are multiple, ranging from gender discrimination to social exclusion, through the lack of educational opportunities and domestic violence. Cultural norms also play an important role as parents send their daughters to ‘safe’ places prior to their life as married women. Employers often hire underage female workers because they cost less and are said to be more obedient.
Although Morocco introduced a law on domestic work in 2018, it remains difficult to apply due to a lack of means to monitor households. In addition, Moroccans’ access to justice is not always guaranteed, since corruption and clientelism are common practices in the system, and mistrust of institutions discourages women and men from exercising their right to recourse to justice in the event of conflict, injustice or violence.
While recalling that Morocco has experienced profound changes and remarkable progress over the past five decades, dynamic economic growth and progress in poverty reduction, the NGO nevertheless stresses that social and economic inequalities are hampering its ambitions.
It therefore formulated several conclusions and recommendations, in particular an evolution of institutional norms on the issue of gender, a reform of the legal framework towards greater equality and the integration of the gender approach in all legal texts.
Urgent reform is also needed for all stakeholders to propose necessary amendments to the law without effect, she noted. Finally, Oxfam stresses that children are the first victims of income inequalities, with limited access to quality education and health services.