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Moroccan women protest PM’s 'stay at home' comments

AFP

More than 100 Moroccan women took to the streets Tuesday demanding Islamist Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane resign after he urged women to stay at home and look after their families.

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"Benkirane get out! Morocco is not for you!" were some of the slogans chanted by the protesters, who numbered about 100, and also waved placards and frying pans.

The leader of the moderate Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) last week compared women to "lanterns" and lamented that the "sacred status God gave" to mothers who stay at home was no longer respected.

Speaking in parliament, he said: "Don't you realise that when women went to work outside, the light went out of their homes?

"We will continue to defend our position against this modernity that is trying to eliminate family in our lives by reversing the roles of men and women. To that we say 'no!'"

2011 constitution not yet in force

NGOs and opposition parties have condemned the prime minister's comments, with some accusing him of blaming Morocco's multiple social problems on a "deterioration in moral values" that resulted from women working.

Amina Benameir, one of the protesters at Tuesday's demonstration, told AFP his speech was "irresponsible".

"He's completely out of touch. Women have been working in Morocco for hundreds of years. And since 2011 we have achieved a lot more rights," said the working mother of two.

Gender equality was enshrined in the 2011 constitution introduced by King Mohamed VI in a bid to defuse Arab Spring protests.

Article 19 guarantees that "men and women enjoy on an equal footing civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms".

The new constitution has yet to come into force, however, and women periodically stage protests demanding that it be applied by the Islamist-led coalition government, which took office nearly three years ago.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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