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Moroccan women protest against PM remarks that 'women's place is in the home'

Dozens of Moroccan women demonstrated outside the Moroccan parliament yesterday, to protest against remarks made by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane who said that women should stay at home instead of going out to work.

Protesters called for the premier to withdraw his remarks which "limit women's role to their biological reproductive function and domestic work".

The protesters raised banners demanding the government implement the principle of equality between men and women stipulated in the Moroccan Constitution, and to protect women's rights.

Morocco's former Minister of Solidarity, Women and Family, Nouzha Skalli told AFP news agency that the prime minister is a "man of a backward vision, and we will not accept his views at all. We refuse this humiliation from a person who believes a woman is like a chandelier inside the house."

Benkirane said in remarks in front of the parliament last week that "there is a problem with the role of women in modern family. Women no longer find the time to play their role as mothers, to be married and raise her children." Benkirane defended his views saying he was protecting the Moroccan family and its values.

The premier's remarks sparked a wave of mixed reactions among those who consider them an insult to the importance of Moroccan women's role in the economic and political development of the country, and others who believed they were taken out of context.

Chapter 19 of the Moroccan constitution stipulates that "men and women enjoy equal civil liberties, political, economic, social, cultural, environmental rights contained in this section of the Constitution, as well as in international treaties and conventions ratified by Morocco".

The Moroccan constitution, which was amended in July 2011, called to establish a special body to observe equality and fight various forms of discrimination.

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