The Hon. Nouzha Skalli
Former Member of the Parliament of Morocco; Moroccan Minister of Social Development, Family, and Solidarity
She first moved into politics in 1985 when she became one of the founding members and one of the leaders of the National Association of Democratic Women of Morocco (ADFM). This was the beginning of a strong commitment to gender equality. Following this she founded the National Committee for the Participation of Women in Political Life as well as the Listening Centre and legal assistance to women victims of violence, created in Casablanca. In 1997 she made the move into local politics and became Municipal Councillor for a small district in Casablanca. In 2002 she moved into national politics when she was elected to the House of Representatives as a member of the Party of Progress and Socialism. Between 2003 and 2004 she was head of the Parliamentary Group of the Socialist Alliance.
As head of this group leader she was involved in a lot of contentious issues including discussing the Moroccan Family Code or Moudawana. This is always particularly controversial due to the role of women in Moroccan society. The issue of women in society has long been an important issue for Skalli, and as group leader she created the National Observatory for Equality. She is strongly committed to the values of justice, freedom, equality and most importantly human values. She has done a lot in Morocco to promote freedom of speech and gender equality and try and tackle some of the issues facing women, including under age marriage, polygamy, violence against women and to promote education of women.
On October 15, 2007, she was appointed Minister of Social Development, Family and Solidarity in the government of Abbas El Fassi. As Minister, Skalli has continued her work to promote equality and create a just society. One of the areas as minister she has focused on is violence against women, against which she believes that Morocco has made a good deal of progress. She recently represented Morocco at a Conference on Violence Against Women. She argues that it is important to talk about and debate these taboos, as this represents the best way to question and change society. She has stated that her aim as Minister is to create a Morocco where life is good for everyone and most importantly to create a just society.
She has been rewarded for her work on human rights and gender equality and has been the recipient of a number of awards, including Best Leader in 2004 given by the Population Institute in Washington and an award from the Women's Democratic Association of Morocco in 2002. Skalli is also the author of a number of contributions to books printed by the Women's Democratic Association of Morocco including Women's Rights in the Maghreb: the Universal and the Specific and Women and Power in Morocco: Democracy Mutilated. She has also contributed articles to a number of newspapers and magazines including the Economist, the Economic Life, New Forum, Women of Morocco, Urban, The Wall Street Journal and Le Monde.