Empowering Moroccan Girls through Education A ‘liberal’ or ‘liberating’ Approach?

Main Article Content

Anasse Bounaga


Women’s empowerment is one of the main goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework that is adopted by many developing countries, including Morocco, to fight poverty and gender discrimination. The Fourth and fifth goals in this framework aim at putting gender equality and women’s empowerment on the agenda of education and literacy policy makers by eliminating gender disparity in primary, secondary and tertiary education. To do so, Morocco is committed to build on the partnership opportunities with U.N agencies like Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to develop a gender-sensitive approach with specific and clear goals that would enable the implementation of gender mainstreaming at all levels and stages of policy making. In doing so, The Moroccan government will not only be able to solve gender-inequalities in different life domains including education, but also develop a policy arsenal that goes in-line with the international goals on gender equality. However, it is argued that the SDGs framework does not serve women’s cause as it serves liberal agendas by shifting the attention from real empowerment of women to integrating them in the economic system, turning them into a ‘new proletariat’. Therefore, this study analyzes the MCC’s gender policy along with Gender and Social Inclusion Dimensions Action Plan (GISAP) using Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis model in the light of Sardenberg’s [31] conceptualization of women’s empowerment and current development approaches to see if the approach that the Moroccan government is adopting is ‘liberating’ girls or fostering ‘liberal’ ideology. Results showed that this approach considers empowerment an instrument for economic growth and a fertile ground for strengthening liberal ideology through a horizontal and narrow interpretation of empowerment. Thus, girls and women should be empowered through a vertically-oriented approach that enhances their participation in policy making, inhibits discriminatory practices and challenges patriarchal structures.  

Article Details

How to Cite
Bounaga, A. . (2022). Empowering Moroccan Girls through Education: A ‘liberal’ or ‘liberating’ Approach?. The Journal of Quality in Education, 12(19), 64–77. https://doi.org/10.37870/joqie.v12i19.301


Ahmed, F. E., "Microcredit, Men, and Masculinity", NWSA Journal, vol. 20 no. 2, p. 122-155, Project MUSE, 2008.

Assuad, C.S.A., “Understanding Rationality in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: Unfolding the Motivations for Action”, J Knowl Econ, vol. 11, pp. 1086–1119, 2020.

Barker, G., Ricardo, C., and Nascimento., M., “Engaging men and boys in changing gender-based inequity in health: Evidence from programme interventions”, World Health Organization, Geneva, 2007.

Batliwala, S., “The meaning of women's empowerment: New concepts from action”: In Sen, G. Germain, A. & Chen, L.C. (eds): population policies Reconsidered: Health, Empowerment and Rights: pp. – 127 – 138, 1994.

Batliwala, S., “Taking the Power out of Empowerment: An Experiential Account”, Development in Practice, vol 17, pp. 557-565, 2007.

Black-Hawkins K., “Understanding Inclusive Pedagogy”. In: Plows V., Whitburn B. (eds) Inclusive Education. Innovations and Controversies: Interrogating Educational Change. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2017.

Boyle, C., Anderson, J., "Inclusive Education and the Progressive Inclusionists", Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education, 2020.

Chant, S., “The disappearing of ‘‘smart economics’’? The World Development Report 2012 on gender equality: some concerns about the preparatory process and the prospects for paradigm change”, Global Social Policy, vol. 12, pp. 198-218, 2012

Corcuff, P., Bourdieu, L. P., Wacquant and Wacquant, L., "Réponses. Pour une anthropologie réflexive", Revue Française de Sociologie, vol. 34, no. 2, p. 293, 1993.

Cornwall, A., Rivas, A, ¬M., “From ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Women’s Empowerment’ to Global Justice: Reclaiming a Transformative Agenda for Gender and Development.” Third World Quarterly, vol. 36, pp. 396–415, 2015.

Enslin, P., “Liberal Feminism, Diversity and Education”, School Field, vol 1, pp. 73–87, 2003.

Fairclough, N. “Critical Discourse Analysis: The critical study of language”, Longman, London, 1995a.

Fairclough, N., “Language and Power”, Longman, London, 1989.

Gibson, C.H., “A concept analysis of empowerment”. Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol 16, pp. 354–36, 1991.

Gidley, J., Gary, H., Leone, W., and Elleni, B. S., “Social Inclusion: Context, Theory, and Practice.” Australasian Journal of University-Community Engagement, vol 5, pp. 6–36, 2010.

Grillo, R. D., Stirrat, R. L. (Eds.). “Discourses of development: Anthropological perspectives”, Berg, 1997.

Hidalgo Tenorio, E., “Critical Discourse Analysis, An overview”, NJES Nordic Journal of English Studies, Vol 10, pp.183–210, 2011.

Kabeer, N., Natali, L., “Gender Equality and Economic Growth: Is there a Win-Win?”, IDS Working Paper, vol 417, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, 2013.

Kalm, S., “Citizenship Capital”, Global Society, pp. 1–24, 2020.

Koczberski, G., “Women in development: A critical analysis”, Third World Quarterly, vol 19:3, pp. 395-410, 1998.

Koczberski, G., “From Mexico to Beijing: "Women in Development" twenty-five years on”. Australian Geographical Studies, vol 34, pp. 138–148, 1996.

Nussbaum, M., “Objectification”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 24, pp. 249–291, 1995.

Patel, S., “From a Seed to a Tree: Building Community Organization in India’s Cities”, in Walters S. and Manicom L. (eds.) Gender in Popular Education, Zed Books Ltd, London, 1996.

Pettersson, K., (Ed.) “Gender Equality for Regional Growth”, Nordregio News, vol 2, 2013.

Plan International., “Because I Am a Girl: The State of the World’s Girls 2009, Girls in the Global Economy, Adding it All Up”, 2009.

Randriamaro, Z., "Greening the Economy and Increasing Economic Equity for Women Farmers in Madagascar," Policy Research Brief 34, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, 2012.

Rathgeber, E. M., “WID, WAD, GAD: Trends in research and practice”, The Journal of Developing Areas, pp. 489–502, 1990.

Richardson, J., “Analysing Newspapers: An approach from critical discourse analysis”, Palgrave, 2007.

Robinson-Pant, A., “Literacy and Education for Sustainable Development and Women’s Empowerment”, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), Hamburg, 2014.

Romano, J.O., “Empoderamento: Recuperando a Questão do Poder no Combate à Pobreza” [‘Empowerment: Recovering the Issue of Power in Combating Poverty’], in J, Romano and M. Antunes (orgs.), Empoderamento e Direitos no Combate à Pobreza [Empowerment and Rights in the Combat Against Poverty], Rio de Janeiro: ActionAid, 2002.

Sardenberg, C., “Family, Households and Women's Empowerment in Bahia, Brazil, Through the Generations: Continuities or Change?”, Ids Bulletin-institute of Development Studies - IDS BULL-INST DEVELOP STUD, Vol. 41, pp. 88-96, 2008.

Sardenberg, C., “Liberal vs. Liberating Empowerment: A Latin American Feminist Perspective on Conceptualising Women's Empowerment1”. IDS Bulletin, Vol. 39, 2008.

United Nations (UN) Development Program., “Sustainable development goals”, 2015.

Winston. C. T., “Liberalism in Education”, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education, 2017.

Moghadam, V., “Patriarchy in Transition: Women and the Changing Family in the Middle East”, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, vol 35, pp. 137-162. 2004