The recent appointment of 15 male judges to key judicial positions has sparked intense criticism from the Federation of Women’s Rights Association, which condemned it as “blatant gender inequality in the selection process.”
The appointments made during the January 2023 session of the Supreme Judicial Council have raised concerns about women’s representation in the country’s judiciary.
The Federation of Women’s Rights Association issued a statement expressing its dismay over the appointments, which coincided with Morocco’s Women’s National Day.
In the statement, the Federation decried the lack of female judges in leadership roles and accused the Supreme Judicial Council of neglecting gender equality and equal opportunity principles.
The statement went further, calling on the Supreme Judicial Council to take concrete actions to advance women’s human rights and implement measures that ensure constitutional gender equality. It urged the council to consider a gender perspective in its proposals and job competitions, promoting a culture of equality and human rights within the judicial system.
In response to these criticisms, the Moroccan Judges Association addressed the concerns raised by the Federation.
The association said that several of the recent appointments aimed to fill vacant or newly created positions. Some of these positions were located in remote or distant courts, and the appointments of male judges were explained as a measure to accommodate female judges who had family ties or worked in other cities.
The Association also pointed out that eight of the appointments involved the transfer of judicial officers from one position to another. This was because taking on leadership positions now requires administrative management training, and the selected judges were chosen based on their qualifications and experience, not their gender.
The Association noted that the Supreme Judicial Council has demonstrated its commitment to gender equality by having four female representatives on the council, a tangible representation of women in decision-making roles within the judiciary.
In an interview with MoroccoLatestNews English, Zhor Lhorr, a former judge, lamented the recent decision to appoint 15 male judges without including any female judges, describing it as a significant setback. In her view, this move denies women their rightful place in contributing to the development of Moroccan society.
“Morocco was among the pioneers in the appointment of female judges, and women have already demonstrated their competence and expertise, effectively debunking any stereotypes suggesting that women lack experience or knowledge in the field,” added Lhorr.
Zhor further explained that “despite the progress made, Morocco still grapples with remnants of male-centric attitudes that question women’s ability to bear responsibilities on par with men.”
Zhor Lhorr expressed her amazement at the appointment of 15 male judges, especially considering the modern and progressive stance of the current Minister of Justice, particularly on issues related to women.
The former judge further stressed the importance of implementing gender quotas to address the gender imbalance in the judiciary.