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Women in the Informal Sector and Poverty Reduction in Morocco

The City of Fez as a Case Study

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Souad Belhorma

It is established that the informal sector plays an important role in the creation of job opportunities for many rural and urban people. However, there is a scarcity of academic research on the relationship between gender, informality of employment and poverty reduction in Morocco with particular reference to the city of Fez. This book focuses on investigating the contribution of women’s self-employed work in the informal sector in reducing household poverty in the city of Fez. This is done through the medium of specific framework objectives. First, the book sets out the types of women engaged in informal sector activities in the city of Fez. Secondly, it makes a situational analysis of the contribution of women’s work in the informal sector to reduce poverty in their households in this region of Morocco. Thirdly, it identifies the linkages between working as self-employed persons and emancipation of women through their participation in political and social activism in Fez and lastly, it uncovers the main difficulties impeding the development of women in self-employed activities in the informal sector and identifies the various challenges for the development of their businesses in Fez.

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Introduction

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Over the past few decades, a wave of reforms sparked throughout Morocco as a result of the preoccupation in most government agendas, public debates, civil-society activism and feminist thoughts. In reality, the purpose of the changes is to make incredible progress in terms of enhancing the status of women and their inclusion in development. In this respect, a number of initiatives and laws have been advanced and reformed. These include the National Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development, the amendment of the Family Status code, the participation in the political field, the change of the labor code, the reform of the constitutional law, to name but a few.1

In addition to the cultural, legal and political changes, women’s economic rights have been boosted by a genuine reform of the labor code. This new law puts into practice rules to fight gender-based discrimination in places of work. It also aims to reduce sex differentials in the workplace. This extends to employment opportunities, salaries, working hours, recognition and penalization of sexual harassment in workplaces. These changes are significant tools to promote the status of Moroccan women, to better their lives, and to bring them from the margins to the centers. Therefore, these efforts have tried considerably to help create the transition from paper to action, such that the reforms have made a significant influence on women all across the country.

It follows from what have been stated above that Morocco aspires to...

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