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Colgate University

Publication Date

Fall 2022

Program Name

Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity


Despite widespread views of “Moroccan Exceptionalism,” Morocco continues to rank poorly on international evaluations of gender equality. This project seeks to understand the extent of the influence neoliberal economic forces in Morocco have had on the feminist landscape. Analysis of Moroccan political history, Foucauldian theories of power relations, and relevant literature on state feminism set the groundwork for the evaluation of the extent state feminism in Morocco can be understood as market-based, in accordance with the definition from From State Feminism to Market Feminsim (2012) by Kantola and Squires. Through interviews of three experts, three meetings with women’s empowerment NGOs, and a review of relevant literature, it is theorized that neoliberalism has played a role in the development of Islamic state feminism under King Mohammed VI, which has in turn led to women’s NGO dynamics as more professional, transnational, and controlled by the state. In other words, feminism in Morocco is utilized by the state to create a balance between a positive international image and control of cultural and religious Islamic identity. This balance serves the country's foreign policy and economic goals which have merged through war-on-terror neoliberalism, as well as the ruling monarchy's desire for domestic control. This project concludes that market forces are just one variable affecting the success of feminist activism in Morocco, but should be part of the discussion when considering best practices moving forward.


African Studies | Arabic Studies | Economic Theory | Feminist Philosophy | Politics and Social Change | Women's Studies


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