Women as Agents of Grassroots Change: Illustrating Micro-Empowerment in Morocco
Abstract

Abstract:

Numerous recent initiatives in Morocco aim to promote women’s empowerment in the country’s current climate of legal reform, national and international development, and rising Islamism. The authors employ a holistic definition of empowerment that integrates both individual and collective processes that develop women’s capacities to increase their ability to make choices and have control over their lives, take action, and mobilize to impact the world around them. In so doing, the authors demonstrate how both popular human and legal rights education programs and economic development initiatives are needed to attain such empowerment. This article describes several women-run grassroots-level non-governmental programs that address women’s legal and economic development. It illustrates the ways in which these programs can operate as tools to empower women individually and collectively to act as agents for change and suggests contrasts between these initiatives and those used by ideology-based groups. The article also proposes future inquiry into the ways in which initiatives that claim to empower women may be assessed at the micro-level of the project strategy’s impact on the participants themselves.