Gender and Judicial Education in Morocco/Genre et Éducation Judiciaire au Maroc

This collaborative project between feminist researchers in Canada and Morocco  grew from discussions between Professors Lawrence & Dua (York University, Canada) and Professors Boukhtil and Touaf (University Mohammed I, Oujda, Morocco).  It was supported by the a grants from the Canadian International Development Research Center [IDRC] , and assistance from the Centre for Feminist Research at York University and the  “Identity and Difference” Research Group at Mohammed I University, and by the work of many students and staff at both institutions.

photograph of central oujda, morocco

A view of Oujda, Morocco

The intent of the project was to deepen the judicial and lay understanding of legal reform, judicial attitudes and education, and the impact of judicial education for social change, in the context of the 2004 family law reforms, Moudaouana, in Morocco. Both Canada and Morocco are  jurisdictions in which women activists, NGO’s, lawyers and judges have had some success in getting issues of gender inequality onto national agendas and legal reforms. In neither country, however, do these achievements seem particularly stable. Ongoing work in both countries is required to ensure ongoing commitments and to ensure implementation of past commitments on the part of governments. The concerns of Canadian and Moroccan women’s advocates and academics in relation to judicial attitudes towards gender, while they have many specific differences, in fact parallel each other.

Skating rink at old city hall, Toronto

a view of Toronto, Canada

A challenge for judicial education, anywhere in the world, is how to make the social contextual factors of lived experience which so heavily shape the details of contentious cases before the judges legally relevant. This requirement is especially keen in areas of gender law, given that the majority of judges continue to be male (and privileged) in their societies, relative to the general population. The idea of making the concept of gender an instrument of analysis of the legal systems that directly concern women is explained by the scarcity of research on legal material both in its technicality and in its decision-making processes. Indeed, to examine the law from the perspective of gender allows an understanding of the mechanisms of production and perpetuation of inequalities, and the exercise of domination, and thereby to provide a better account for the processes that are at the very heart of the of the humanities and social sciences.

There are three outcomes from the "Gender and Judicial Education in Morocco" project.

a. a study that was carried out in Morocco assessing the impact of the 2004 legal reforms,

b. a workshop which brought together legal researchers, scholars, activists, and judges from both Canada and Morocco and which took place at Mohammed I University in Oujda, Morocco, on May 19-20 2017

c. a paper and resource database on judicial education and gender

The study, reflections and workshop proceedings, as well as additional reports and resources, are documented on this website.

This project was supported by  IDRC's Small Grants Program, Project no. 107718-00020703-011.  The researchers are grateful for the leadership of Professeur Mohammed Benkaddour,  Président de l'Université Mohammed Premier - Oujda. This project could not have been contemplated or completed without the assistance of Professor Alison Crosby, Director of the Centre for Feminist Research at York and Julia Pyryeskina, Coordinator at the Centre for Feminist Research, Stella Dong in Research Accounting at York University and Barbara Alves at IDRC.