Morocco: Some 300 Women Become “Adouls”

Morocco, a Muslim country, sets example for Arab and Islamic countries in women empowerment. The North African Kingdom continues to expand women’s rights under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, “Commander of the Faithful”, who has approved a motion, allowing women to become “Adouls”, public notary officials, a profession traditionally held by men.

This unprecedented and historic move has enabled 299 Moroccan women to pass with high marks the exam of public notaries (adoul). This is the first-ever group of women Adouls in Morocco.

According to the Moroccan Ministry of Justice, women represented 38.37 percent of the passing candidates. Of the 18,948 candidates who took the test on May 6, 7,632 were women competing for 800 jobs.

Public notaries in Morocco perform a number of duties in accordance with Islamic law. They document marriages and witness testimonies required for trials. They also handle inheritance cases, real estate transactions, and other deals.

The country also has trained Islamic women preachers (known locally as Morchidates). They are part of the country’s sustained efforts to counter Islamist radicalism. These female religious scholars provide spiritual guidance to women and young people in mosques, schools, orphanages, hospitals, prisons and rural villages.

In the past few years, several reforms were carried out in the country to grant women more rights, including the amendment of the nationality law to allow Moroccan women married to foreigners to pass on citizenship to their children.

Morocco criminalizes female harassment. It also repealed the controversial rape-marriage law that allowed rapists to escape prosecution if they married their victims. In 2004, Moroccan authorities removed the legal obligation for having a male guardian, established the minimum age for marriage at eighteen and made it easier for women to divorce and obtain custody of their children.

The country, which is setting the example in gender equity in the Arab-Muslim world, also reformed its electoral code to introduce a quota aimed at increasing female political representation.

The royal initiatives empowering women in the country have enabled several Moroccan women to become successful investors and entrepreneurs.

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