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Victims of migration Analysis of the situation of Moroccan women, whose husbands have emigrated to Italy. Case study: the city of Fqui Ben Salah (Region.

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Presentation on theme: "Victims of migration Analysis of the situation of Moroccan women, whose husbands have emigrated to Italy. Case study: the city of Fqui Ben Salah (Region."— Presentation transcript:

1 Victims of migration Analysis of the situation of Moroccan women, whose husbands have emigrated to Italy. Case study: the city of Fqui Ben Salah (Region of Tadla-Azilal - Morocco) Elisabetta Pennetti Master “Women, civilizations and legal systems” Tempus/MEDA - CD Jep 30011-2002 (University of Cadi Ayyad, Marrakech - Morocco University of Foggia - Italy University of Graz - Austria)

2 Why ? The majority of male Moroccan emigrants to Italy come from the Region of Tadla-Azilal Geo-political aspects of this emigration including social and cultural differences, can help to explain the level of integration of the men once in Italy, and how their emigration affects the daily life of the women left behind in Morocco. Studies of how emigration affects women who were left behind are rare when compared to the number of studies focusing on the economic and urban impacts Gender relations and gender hierarchies in both sending and receiving countries determine the gender-specific impact of migration* *(

3 The region Tadla-Azilal Key problem areas: Demographic stagnation of the region Weakness and absence of income producing activities Environmental problems in cities due to the large and fast increase in the illegal construction of buildings Lack of education. The majority of adults (52.7%) are illiterate. The majority of girls (54%) do not attend school, and more than half (61%) do not continue after primary school Lack of investment in professional training. There is no connection between the importance of learning a trade and the ability to get a good job in the future Lack of employment opportunities. There has been no development in farming or other industries Lack of access to water for irrigation Emigration has become a constant in this region. More people emigrate than stay behind Epidemiological effect: men feel the need to emigrate and do so by any means necessary (buying false work contracts, on boat, white marriage)


5 Regions of origin of Undocumented Moroccans arrested in Spain in Spring 2001 (n=3,832)

6 The emigration phenomenon recent emigration towards new destinations rather illegal, more clandestine (irregular) mainly male emigration young people (ages 20 to 45) loans from family members encouraged by family networks pushed by organizations of illegal migration (smugglers)

7 It is an emigration which has touched all the sectors of society and has had a strong social, economic, spatial and cultural impact, especially on the marital situation and on the female condition

8 The inquiry of the plight of Moroccan women The evaluation of the effects of this male emigration on the female condition in the city of Fquih Ben Salah Hypothesis: married women whose husbands have emigrated to Italy experience autonomy from the traditional male domination

9 Methodology Qualitative study utilizing a questionnaire comprised of both open ended and closed questions Representative sample of adult women (n=20) 18-50 years of age Resident of Fquih Ben Salah permanently (waiting for husband to return home) or temporarily (waiting to leave for Italy) Family reunification either in Morocco or Italy Conducted interviews and questionnaires in Moroccan Arabic (derija) interviews with officials: President of the Court, Family Court Judge, and the President of LDDF (Democratic League for Women’s Rights)

10 Objectives measure the degree of women’s autonomy and changes in family dynamics –analyze gender relations within the emigrant’s family –analyze changes after the husband’s departure Observe women’s hopes and expectations regarding family reunification

11 Findings The overseas migration of adult males has a significant negative association with women's decision-making capacity and education of girls in the migrant families. The difficulties women face are characterized by: –the lack of means of subsistence, even for their children –the absorption into and co-habitation with the husband’s family where she is treated as a slave and forced to stay at home In cases of conflict with husband’s family, the woman is discouraged to return to her own family. The cohabitation of the wife with the in-laws constitutes the essence of the feminine problem and reveals the weight of the in-laws in the marriage of the son.

12 False Hopes and Expectations Improvement in the woman’s current situation Money is sent home on a regular basis and the woman has substantial autonomy over financial decisions

13 International migration profoundly affects gender relations, particularly the role of women in households and communities. Sometimes migration can serve to reinforce traditional gender roles. The impacts are complex (

14 The emigration influence in family institution Findings from interviews with officials The intensity and trends of marriages and divorces: in 2005, there were 6,611 marriage certificates in the city of Fquih Ben Salah. 985 of these marriages were to minors, and the majority of this were to child brides * Les remariages ont concept 22% des émigres de FBS. the divorce and the remarriage of the emigrants is an alternative solution to the ban on polygamy; Wives hesitate to ask for divorce to protect the family institution and relations between the father and his sons/ daughters; Women’s incapacity to afford the financial expenses associated with judicial proceedings which lead to such behaviors as begging Women’s lack of information regarding family law. Recent and complicated modifications in family law are difficult to apply and enforce *Statistical data from Ministry of Justice of Morocco – Direction Civil Affairs

15 Conclusion Traditional communities are resistant to change in women’s roles The durability of the patriarchy does not change because of male emigration. Instead of concentrating development projects on emigration as a solution, more research and projects need to be initiated on the forgotten problem of Moroccan women left behind.

16 The answers lies within Morocco Proper application of the new Family’s Code which was passed in 2003 A renewed civil movement to deconstruct the current situation of women in Morocco through the corrosive activity of national women’s associations and international women’s organizations A true application of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as ratified by Morocco without any reservation

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