March 30, 2023

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International Women’s Day: Equal pay, a fundamental step towards achieving gender equality

Friday, March 3, 2023 at 5:45 p.m

-Maria Katraoui-

RABAT – Pay discrimination persists in the private sector despite laws guaranteeing equal pay for women, however unfair. On March 8, a day dedicated to women, their journey and their struggle, it is necessary to evaluate laws related to work.

If International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate their social, economic, cultural and political achievements, to hear their demands and improve their situation, it also serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of unresolved issues, including wage inequality. In the private sector.

As of March 2022, the significant pay gap for women was 30% compared to their male counterparts, according to the Bureau of Planning.

“The law is very clear on wage disparities between men and women, starting with the Constitution, in which Article 19 states that men and women shall enjoy equal economic and social rights”, Casablanca Bar lawyer Yasmin Zaki, underlined in an interview. Map.

There are many reasons behind wage disparities, and some are linked to “patriarchal attitudes and gender stereotypes,” she noted, noting that many studies highlight the devaluing of women’s work compared to men’s. According to the lawyer, the problem also has its roots in the priority given to men in terms of access to work and management of the resulting income.

Despite anti-discrimination provisions in the labor code and penal code, there have been no workplace protests, strikes or vigilance programs, although the lawyer lamented that Morocco’s legal arsenal is described as one of the richest in the MENA region. .

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Therefore, Me Zaki considers it “compulsory” to promote the presence of women within decision-making bodies and to consider the recommendations of Moroccan feminist movements that propose “sustainable and applicable solutions”.

For his part, Me Abdelrhani Nkaira, a lawyer and expert in labor law, argued that employees should know more about their rights at work and that they should entrust their problems to lawyers who specialize in this field.

The Labor Code contains several penal sanctions, but to use these, a request must be made to the public prosecutor, he explained, indicating that sanction is reserved for non-compliance with Article 9 of the Labor Code cited in the article. 12 imposes a fine of up to 30,000 dhs.

Alarmed by the “remarkable indifference” of the matter, Me Nkaira decried the “virtual absence” of the Labor Inspectorate, who should enjoy greater powers and privileges to carry out visits and inspections within establishments. Its purpose is to make reports in case of violation of the Labor Code and ensure the application of sanctions provided for each violation.

An expert in labor law argued that existing laws are “largely sufficient” to make employees more aware of their rights and able to demand them.

If we refer to the words of two experts, there is no need to review the existing laws as they are clear and precise. The challenge is to get these accepted by society and encourage women to assert their rights with the aim of achieving their effective use one day.