Democratic Association of Moroccan Women

Democratic Association of Moroccan Women

L'Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc

ADFM advances the rights of women in Morocco and the MENA region through advocating for legal reforms that promote women’s social, economic, and political equality with men, monitoring compliance with local laws and international human rights agreements, and mobilizing women’s rights campaigns.

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Partner Focus Areas

Promoting women's economic and social rights
Mainstreaming gender in public policies
Culture of equality and ending sexism
Government accountability for human rights

Partnership Highlights

Partner since 2000
Family law reform focused on inheritance
Grassroots capacity building for advocacy
Youth leadership and civic engagement
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Rabea Naciri at family law meeting CSW61
Rabe’a Naciri, founding member of ADFM, speaks during WLP's Family Law Reform Meeting for the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

About ADFM

Association Démocratique de Femmes de Maroc (ADFM), founded in June 1985, has organized countless protests, submitted dozens of policy recommendations, led hundreds of workshops, and inspired and empowered thousands of grassroots women to take the lead on making social, economic, and political changes in their communities. Today, ADFM promotes women’s economic and social rights, works to reform laws and policies to support gender equality, fights to overturn sexist stereotypes, and assists individuals and organizations to increase their capacity to mobilize on behalf of women’s rights. ADFM’s goal is to strengthen women’s power and influence in the juridical, political, economic, and social spheres to build an egalitarian, democratic, and sustainable society.
ADFM was among the original WLP partners when WLP was founded in 2000, and it has contributed greatly to the WLP partnership by sharing its experience, expertise, data, and best practices. ADFM, in return, has benefited from WLP’s learning and leadership methodologies and curricula, international network, and online training workshops, as well as collaborations with the other organizations in the partnership. ADFM works primarily in Arabic and French. 

Recent Accomplishments

  • ADFM’s exhaustive advocacy tactics were critical to recent reforms in legislative provisions that advance the protection of women against violence and discrimination in Morocco. In 2016, the instances in which abortion is legal were increased in Bill 10.16 of the Penal Code, and the actions that constitute sexual harassment were expanded under Bill 103.13 of the Penal Code. Additional outcomes from ADFM’s advocacy have included new laws relating to human trafficking and the treatment of domestic workers.
  • ADFM launched a campaign to reform the social security system in Morocco. Its efforts have sparked an important public debate on guaranteeing gender equality and equity in the system, especially for certain categories of vulnerable workers, including women.
  • Over 10 years, ADFM conducted an extensive review and analysis on the issue of equality in inheritance through the development of multidisciplinary studies and organization of various meetings of reflection and debate with researchers and experts in the field. This collaborative process culminated in the publication of, “For a social debate about the inheritance system: Moroccan women between laws and socio-economic developments,” and the release of a memorandum of demands for reforming the inheritance system in Morocco.
  • In 2016, ADFM coordinated the Anaruz Network’s memorandum of demands for reforming the Moudawana, the Moroccan Family Code. The memorandum was comprehensive, covering all the discriminatory provisions in the family code. Anaruz is a network of 40 counseling centers for women victims of violence.
  • In partnership with the Association, ADFM produced five podcasts on women’s rights issues that were launched as part of its “Why Not?” campaign in June 2017. The topics of the podcasts were: Equality between men and women; Discrimination against women; the fight against stereotypes; Equality in inheritance; and Women and collective lands in Morocco. 
Morocco leadership training 2013
Participants discuss women's roles in decision-making at an ADFM leadership training in Rabat.

Organizational Programs and Activities

Soulaliyate Women

  • Since 2007, ADFM has worked for the recognition of Soulaliyate women’s right to their collective lands. Soulaliyates is the name given to tribal women who have lived for generations on collective lands in Morocco. As the lands have been seized by the government and/or privatized, much of the compensation and other benefits have gone to men. Single, divorced, or widowed women are frequently left with no land, no income, and no prospects. ADFM’s advocacy campaign for recognition of Soulaliyates as persons entitled to land and land benefits has had numerous successes, including the issuance of three ministerial circulars providing for equality between women and men in terms of access to land; the launch by the government of a national dialogue regarding the reform of the legal status of collective lands; Soulaliyate women's participation in land management bodies and decision-making positions; and, in July 2018, for the first time in Morocco, the equal allocation of land and compensation for Soulaliyate women and men from the Kenitra Province.
  • Today, the Soulaliyate women’s movement is a national movement that inspires and engages other civil rights campaigns in Morocco.

Family Law and the Penal Code reform

  • ADFM is monitoring the implementation of Morocco’s Family Code (the Moudawana). In recent years, ADFM has identified priority actions to advocate for the reform of the family code in accordance with the provisions of the 2011 Constitution and the international commitments of Morocco. The family code has not been reformed for more than 13 years (2004) and still permits many forms of discrimination and violence against women, such as polygamy and the marriage of minors. 
  • ADFM is engaged in ongoing advocacy for reforming the penal code to better protect women victims, and to radically overhaul the laws relating to gender-based violence.  
Soulaliyate Women March
Soulaliyate women hold up the banner of WLP’s partner in Morocco, ADFM, as they march towards the parliament building in Rabat to demand equal rights to their ancestral lands.

Capacity-building workshops and programs

  • ADFM conducts capacity-building trainings for various constituencies throughout Morocco. These have included grassroots women, Soulaliyate women, local NGOs and youth organizations, university students, the media, and civil servants and government officials, among others. The subject matter varies depending on the participants, but covers a range of topics from leadership to techniques for monitoring the implementation of legislation. ADFM uses WLP’s curricula in trainings, which have helped ADFM consolidate its work with other institutions, organizations, and networks. 

Monitoring compliance and reporting on women’s rights 

  • ADFM compiles shadow reports and lobbies the monitoring committees during periodic country reviews by CEDAW, Beijing +20, ICESCR, UPR and other international bodies. 
  • ADFM participates in the regional Equality Without Reservation campaign, advocating for the removal of all reservations to the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), ratification of the Convention’s Optional Protocol, and full implementation of the Convention by MENA governments, to fully realize women’s human rights and gender equality in the region.
  • ADFM has been engaged in the EuroMed campaign to expand the number of country accessions to the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, a campaign launched on the occasion of the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign  in 2016.
Before meeting with [ADFM], the women of my tribe were like a closed pomegranate. Today, not only have we come to know our rights, but we have also come to defend them.
Hajiba, Chebbaka tribe, Morocco

About Morocco

  • Population: 36.7 million
  • Located in Northern Africa, bordering both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean sea, Spain to the north, Algeria to the east, and Mauritania to the south.
  • Economy: Ranked 56th in the world
  • Although Morocco's fertility rate has steadily declined, the country suffers from high unemployment rates, particularly among the youth.
  • Government: Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
  • Legal system: Mixed system of civil law based on French civil law and Islamic (sharia) law
  • Religions: Muslim 99% (mostly Sunni, <0.1% Shia), other 1% (includes Christian, Jewish, and Baha'i)
  • Seats held by women in national parliament: 23%
  • Labor force: 25.2% female
  • Female literacy: 64.4%
  • Maternal mortality rate: 70 deaths per 100,000 live births 
  • Citizenship: The father must be a citizen of Morocco; if the father is unknown or stateless, the mother must be a citizen. The mother can grant her Moroccan nationality to her children born to a foreign father, provided that her marriage is contracted in accordance with the legal provisions of the Family Code, which requires that the husband must be of Muslim confession. A husband can grant his Moroccan nationality to his foreign wife (within 5 years of marriage), while a wife cannot. 
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