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Morocco assigns women marriage notaries for first time

In many countries in the Islamic world, the job of a legal marriage notary is reserved for men

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Dubai: The Moroccan Ministry of Justice announced that it is recruiting 299 women as legal marriage notaries for the first time in the country, a profession that has hereto been reserved for men.

Men also typically handle inheritance issues, divorce and guardianship cases in addition to marriage contracts. This was because under Shariah, a woman's testimony is equal to half that of a man.

Morocco’s King, Mohammad VI, pronounced a decree this year that allows women across the country to carry out several duties under Shariah such as documenting witness testimony in courts, handling family cases and real estate transactions.

The royal decree, which also opened the position of marriage notaries to women, was a step towards the fight against all laws that discriminate against the gender in Morocco.

Morocco in February criminalised female harassment, and a presidential commission put forward a draft of liberal reforms, which includes equal inheritance rights for women.

In 2004, Morocco removed the legal obligation that called for a male guardian for every woman, and established the minimum age for marriage at eighteen. It also made it easier for women to get a divorce and gain child custody.

In 2007, a royal decree allowed a child to inherit the Moroccan nationality and register them under her name if there was no father in the picture.

Also, Morocco was among the first Arab countries to cancel a rape-marriage law that allowed rapists to escape prosecution if they married their victims.

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