30 July 2014

North Africa: Moroccan Women Reject Image in Arab Media

Casablanca — Female politicians, artists and journalists met last week in Casablanca to discuss what they consider the negative and prejudiced portrayal of Moroccan women in Arab television.

Producers and directors need to be aware of Moroccan women's pioneering role in society, said Nezha Meghari of the Moroccan Network of Women Journalists, which organised the July 23rd event.

Participants in the symposium described the Arab media's belittling of women as a national problem, since the matter affects society as a whole.

In her comments, Family Minister Bassima Hakkaoui underscored jealousy as the main motive driving other countries to deliver a false, unjust image of the Moroccan woman, who had made gains those countries weren't able to achieve.

Women's struggle and competence have led to the situation being corrected in Morocco, she noted. Today, six female ministers are in office in various fields, she said.

"Neglecting women meant neglecting national talents," Hakkaoui said, adding that the current awareness of the issue from society must be matched by awareness in the media.

Depicting the Moroccan woman as "a family destroyer, a sorceress, or a careless character" constitutes a vicious attack, public policy researcher Malika Najib agreed.

According to Najib, Moroccan women have already experienced great gains, thanks to laws that promote their status. Pending legislation will help them achieve further equality and parity. These advances "anger women in countries that have yet to reach this level of progress", she explained.

Nonetheless, the researcher held the government responsible for the poor level of dramatic production in Morocco. Najib provided examples of Moroccan television series that did nothing to promote a positive image of women.

Actress Latifa Ahrar, director Azelarab Alaoui, singer Amal Ayouch and other attendees called for a joint strategy to promote women as creative, intellectual, political, and skilled, and end the stereotypical, harmful images used by biased people.

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