23th of April 2021. Yesterday, the former Moroccan Minister of Family Nouzha Skalli, in charge of women’s affairs in Morocco, presented an online lecture as part of the Digital Teaching Course for Female Teachers at the Mohammed I University in Oujda, which is held by the Complutense University and promoted and coordinated by Women for Africa.
The lecture, hosted by the president of the Moroccan university, Yassine Zarhloule, focused on the difficulties and opportunities faced by women in the field of science, and their impact on development.
Nouzha Skalli, who has been a member of the Foundation’s advisory board since its creation, was introduced by our President, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, who described her as a fighter, not only for women’s rights, but also for justice, the improvement of democracy and human rights in general. Indeed, Skalli, who has not only been a minister but also a member of parliament for the Socialist Party for Progress, is the founder of several humanitarian organisations and has been particularly involved in the fight against the death penalty.
But Nouzha Skalli, besides her activism, has a scientific background as a pharmacist, and therefore is familiar with the challenges facing women in science, from her experience in politics and academia.
In her lecture, she traced the panorama of inequalities still experienced by girls and women in the world and in Morocco. She supported her argument with data because, as she said, data tell us about reality, and that’s the point of departure when identifying and seeking solutions to the problems.
This data continues to show that there are more out-of-school and illiterate girls than boys, among many other inequalities in the field of education. She used this evidence to highlight the importance of fighting against these inequalities in order to achieve sustainable development. Science and research are crucial for such development, she insisted.
She also pointed out the need to make women scientists more visible, to encourage girls to pursue scientific careers, and, in short, to dismantle patriarchy, a system which, she stressed, is neither good for women nor for men, because it is an imbalance of power that prevents development and progress.
She spent part of her lecture quoting many Moroccan women who hold positions of great responsibility and lead cutting-edge scientific institutions and organisations throughout the world.
The division of tasks imposed by patriarchy, with women at home and men in the public sphere, is unjust, she concluded, and, in order to eradicate it, it is necessary to expand the culture of equality. A culture that both women and men must fight for.
The conference is available on the Women for Africa YouTube channel at this link.