Inheritance law contributes to the “feminization of poverty”

The results of a study conducted by the Association of Moroccan Women for Research and Development in partnership with the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights showed that the right of succession was a difficult lock to break, as it was based on a rigorous interpretation of Islamic law in this area.

A good majority of Moroccan public opinion (44% of the research sample out of the 1,200 people questioned) said they were not yet ready in the field of the practice of succession in Morocco according to the document and rejects any modification of the provisions of the Family Code relating to inheritance. The study, which was completed in 2020, was presented today during a symposium at the Mohammed V University in Rabat during a workshop to present the results of the survey, in front of a parterre of eminences.

It concluded in two preponderant positions. That of the followers of the mordicus, cited above, and the other which advocates to 36% of those surveyed, the change “of the legal requirements discriminatory against women in matters of inheritance”, while 20% remained undecided without piper word on the matter.

Inheritance law contributes to the “feminization of poverty”
Ph. Mounir Mehimdate

Proponents of change refer to the promises hinted at in the 2011 constitution, Morocco’s commitments to the international community, and the “reference to the reality on the ground”, in particular to the economic role of women in modern Morocco.

According to the results of the study entitled “The inheritance system in Morocco. What are the opinions of Moroccans? 86.6% of respondents confirmed that they were fully aware of the legal intricacies of the inheritance system, 90.4% of them being from urban areas and 79.5% from rural areas.

Ph. Mounir Mehimdate

Concerning the perceptions prevailing among Moroccans on the rules of inheritance which arouse controversy, that of the transmission of heritage by gender, 82% of the people polled expressed their support for the regime of a “half share for a daughter”, while 73.6% supported this rule even within families without men, and 89.7% justified their position because this rule draws its raison d’être from an Islamic reference which is not so true.

As for the rule to prevent inheritance on the basis of differences in belief, 52% of respondents expressed support for the prohibition of inheritance between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim woman, and 87 .4% of them attributed their position on this rule to religious reasons.

Ph. Mounir Mehimdate

Malika Benradi, president of the Association of Moroccan Women for Research and Development, said that the motivation for the study was based primarily on the changes in Moroccan society in recent decades, with reference to the High Commission for plan (HCP) which reports that more than 20% of Moroccan families are headed by women.

In addition to this fact, she added that there were other points that dictated this research such as the changes that took place in the Moroccan legal system, which culminated in the 2011 constitution whose founding laws emphasized the principle of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender, in addition to Morocco’s ratification of all international conventions relating to women’s rights.

Ph. Mounir Mehimdate

Also, according to Malika Benradi, this study which mainly aimed to know the opinions, perceptions, attitudes and future aspirations of Moroccans concerning the inheritance system in Morocco is part of the public debate on the reform of the code of family. According to women’s movements, an amendment to make them compatible with the requirements of the Constitution is necessary for the lifting of discrimination against women.

That said, the two authorities behind this study consider the current inheritance regime as “discriminatory” with regard to frustrations in the transmission of heritage such as those “of a half share for the daughter compared to her brother”, or that of not allowing a single daughter or daughters without a brother to enjoy all the inheritance of their parents, thus that of disinheriting on the basis of differences of belief.

Ph. Mounir Mehimdate

For Amina Bouayach, president of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), the Islamic heritage system discriminates and contributes to the “feminization of poverty”. The president of the CNDH speaking at this event also added that the moudouwana put at the same level a set of principles equalizing the duties between women and men, such as the duty of joint care for the family, but that equality did not extend to women’s inheritance rights.

Amina Bouayach considered this inheritance regime which draws its rules from Islamic law and in which men enjoy privileges is “still carrying a number of manifestations of discrimination and inequality against womenlike the system of intolerance and restrictions that severely limits women and girls’ access to land and wealth, and makes them susceptible to poverty and vulnerability.

Ph. Mounir Mehimdate

She added that more and more families “resort to legal measures as an alternative to Islamic law of inheritance, such as sale, charity or donation, with the sole aim of protecting their daughters and the property that should return to them without discrimination after the death of the father“. However, recourse to these legal procedures cannot be a solution to repair the harm done to Moroccan women, given the procedures they require, the conflicts they may raise and the impossibility of carrying them out through all the families.

Amina Bouayach reiterated her position in favor of adopting the principle of parity in inheritance, saying that the procedures that some families resort to to achieve equality between their childrencannot replace a fair and equitable legal system accessible to all Moroccans“.

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