In Morocco legal codes and dominant discourses conflate single mothers (om ʾazbaʾ) with prostitutes, creating a web of discrimination and marginalization for never-married women who are pregnant or have given birth.1 In contrast, single fathers enjoy legal and social impunity for any sexual transgressions. As I began to unravel the material, legal, and institutional roadblocks before single mothers, I noticed certain commonalities. According to Mahjouba Edbouche, president of Oum El Banine (OEB) in Agadir, half of the single mothers this association assists have backgrounds as child maids (petites bonnes).2 Others are employed as factory or agricultural workers in locations far from their familial support networks.3 In all these cases, the women were fulfilling the role of provider (qiwama) for their impoverished parents and siblings when they became pregnant....
The Conflation of Single Mothers and Prostitutes in Morocco: Qiwama, Legal Exclusion, and Paternal Impunity
GINGER FEATHER researches the impact of legal discrimination on violence against women in Morocco and Tunisia. Her book manuscript Torn between Bad Choices, now under review, takes an intersectional approach to analyzing challenges that never-married mothers, divorcees, widows, and their children face due to discriminatory laws. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ginger Feather; The Conflation of Single Mothers and Prostitutes in Morocco: Qiwama, Legal Exclusion, and Paternal Impunity. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 July 2021; 17 (2): 294–303. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15525864-8949513
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