Saturday, May 7, 2011

Alarming Hike in Unmarried Mothers in Morocco

Here is an article from CNN about the 27,200 unmarried Moroccan women who became mothers in 2009. There are a lot of steps that should be taken before mere "acceptance" of unwed mothers such as improving youth employment and financially assisting youth to get married.Increasing education opportunities for females. Also, basic sex education and improved access to birth control. Holding Moroccan males responsible for their inappropriate sexual behavior is a great idea too - these women didn't get pregnant all by themselves.
Study reveals alarming hike in unmarried mothers in Morocco
By Martin Jay, for CNN
May 3, 2011 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)

* A recent study says number of unwed mothers in Morocco rose dramatically from 2008
to 2009
* Study shows 60% of unwed mothers are younger than 26 and a third younger than 20
* Strong prejudice still remains against unwed mothers from most groups of society

A recent study published by a Casablanca support group for single mothers says the number of Morocco's unmarried mothers in 2009 is at least double those in 2008 -- 27,200 compared with 11,016 the year before, according to the Institution Nationale de Solidarite Avec Les Femmes en Distresse.

As in most Muslim countries, it is considered an intolerable shame on a family in Morocco if a daughter falls pregnant outside marriage. In many cases, families totally reject a daughter who becomes pregnant before marriage.

Morocco's unmarried mothers are mostly young, said Houda El Bourahi, the institute's director. The study shows 60% are younger than 26 and a third younger than 20, she said.

According to the 350-page report, the mothers are often in "vulnerable" professions, such as house servants, and the majority have a low level of schooling. Often, the women believe that their sexual partners will marry them, and so agree to their demands, according to the study.

Despite Morocco being modern in so many respects, strong prejudice still remains against unwed mothers from most groups of society.

"It's time to put an end to prejudices held against these women though who are considered by (Moroccan) society as prostitutes," El Bourahi said. "These women are rejected by their families and by society and are not protected by the law."

Since the end of last year, 7,000 women in Casablanca alone had been assisted at the organization's Center of Listening on the outskirts of the city, the commercial capital of Morocco with a population of almost 4 million. Furthermore, 2,000 children have been accepted legally by the civil state and 540 have been recognized by their fathers.

The women's rights agenda has accelerated dramatically in recent years in Morocco largely following an initiative by King Mohammed VI to give women more equality, both at home and in the workplace. A new law adopted in 2004 gave women more rights as wives, for example.

Still, few men accept unmarried mothers and their offspring despite less of a stigma these days toward women who take up jobs and consider virginity to be an outdated virtue. While many men consider single mothers to be prostitutes, sex workers reportedly represent a tiny percentage of Morocco's unmarried mothers.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious about these numbers and how accurate they are -- whether there's truly a "spike" from 2008 to 2009 or if the reporting of the number of unwed mothers is a more well-oiled machine than a year ago. I'm also curious what the actual numbers of single mothers in all of Casablanca are, not merely women who have used or been in contact with the association. I think it's important to note, too that the "strong prejudice" against unwed mothers in Morocco reaches far beyond societal ideation about prostitution and into actual legal rights. What's worse is that many single mothers' children will receive virtually no rights as a Moroccan citizen because they do not legally exist. Moroccan laws are not explicit as to a single mother's right to obtain a Family Booklet on behalf of her child, which grants a Moroccan citizen his/her right to obtain a National Identity Card, a passport, a driver’s license, admittance into a hospital, to purchase a home based on credit, to get married, to receive free medical care and other social services, as well as legal aid assistance in courts. Without a Family Booklet, many children do not even have the right to go to school.