Saharawi women experiance
Women in the occupied territories

The Saharawi society has established a social environment that permits women to enjoy and obtain their rights in compliance with the values of the Saharawi society. These values guarantee equal rights to all; the strong, weak, literate and illiterate alike and discourage any type of dominance over the others.

This society has maintained adequate social conditions where women enjoy their rights; learning, studying, doing business and having properties for their own. Moreover, the society guarantees decent life and security for all women.

Eventually, the Saharawi women take part in all fields.

Political participation

For the policy- makers in Western Sahara, the participation of the Saharawi women in politics was a priority and women joined the political system from the beginning.

In 1974, the first female to be elected as a member of the political bureau of the front.

The Saharawi women’s political participation is not limited only to the membership of the political bureau or the national secretariat. The Saharawi women participate in the election of the women’s organizations and occupy high-level administrative positions such as governors and mayors. For instance, Senia Ahmed Marhba was a governor; Al-Aza Babih was the SG of a wilaya and mayor of a daira; Tarba Duidih was a mayor of a daira.

01/ Government: the executive power its duty is to implement all the laws and procedures approved by the legislative power. The Saharawi women have been present in all successive governments.

Now, we have three women in the current government.

02/ Parliament: it is one of the institutions that reflects the democratic practices in the state. Women play a very crucial role in practicing democracy. The women’s participation has increased significantly and led to the gradual increase of female-MPs percentage from 4,95% in the first term, 4,95% in the second term, 6,93% in the third term,11,76% in the fourth term, 13,72% in the fifth term , 24% in the sixth term and finally 34% in the last term.

Reaching this percentage, women in the Saharawi parliament have become a determinant factor.

03/ Judicial institution: settles disputes between legal persons and also between individuals. Women work as lawyers and take part in the religious orientation process which was a male-dominant field.

04/ Education: women represent 75% of the total workers in education sector including teachers, directors, instructors and administrative staffs.

05/ The Saharawi Red Crescent: women represent 90% of the total number of both the national and the local staffs and all food stock managers are women.

06/ Security apparatus: women play a very important and effective role in ensuring security in the wilayas and dairas through joining the police, administration, communication and telecommunication in order to carry out their work at the best manner. Among their prerogatives to ensure security and law enforcement in the wilayas and dairas and work for intelligence services.

The women have been able to reach high positions in the administration; central directors, communication directors at the local levels, police officers, judicial police officers and telecommunication officers.



Health sector:

At the health sector, women represent the majority including; nurses, administrative and cleaning staffs. In the last few years, the number of specialized doctors has increased significantly.

Media and culture:

The presence of the Saharawi women in media and journalism goes back to 1976. Since then, the Saharawi women have worked for the Saharawi media institutions such as the national radio ensuring them the chance to write about women’s affairs and present a weekly radio program that highlights women’s sufferings.

The number of the Saharawi women in the media institutions has increased since the eighties (Journalists, correspondents, presenters and editors in-chief). The Saharawi women are encouraged to join the radio, TV station, electronic web-sites, newspapers, magazines and the other media services that reflect the interest and issues of the Saharawi people.

Culture:  in the globalization era, the cultures are exposed to clash with one another. However, the Saharawis have been able to preserve their culture and the genuine aspects of their own society. In this context, the Saharawi women are playing a very important role preserving the Saharawi heritage; the Hassaniya dialect, novels, popular stories, teaching children how to speak fluently and maintaining the traditional clothing and make-up in family and national events.

The Saharawi women have been creative in many fields such as art, poetry, writing, traditional crafts, decoration, in addition to leather related industry such as making shoes, goat skins, leather bags to preserve food and using fur, fine animal hair and wool to knit tents. The Saharawi women also make carpets and home utensils such as hand-made plates and cuscus vaporizers.

Official diplomacy: the Saharawi women joined the diplomatic corps since the beginning of the revolution but it was only in 1992 when women were promoted to join the diplomatic missions abroad as representatives in the different foreign regions of countries where consulates and delegations established. Through their active participation, women have been able to be designated as ambassadors.

At time being, the Saharawi women represent 17% of the Saharawi diplomatic corps.

The Saharawi women have so far worked in many diplomatic missions in many countries, inter alia, Spain, Norway, Austria, Finland, France, Libya, Ethiopia and Denmark,

Worth-mentioning, that in all official delegations that attended regional and international forums there was a place for woman.

Popular diplomacy: the Saharawi women played a very important role in the diaspora especially at the difficult beginnings of the revolution; handing over their valuable properties, taking part with the men, contributing to preserve the Saharawi culture through educating their children in the good manner and protecting them from the negative consequences of living abroad.

In the neighboring countries also in Spain, France and Belgium, political factions were formed and became more common especially in the South of Morocco, South West of Algeria and Northern Mauritania.

In the framework of these political factions, the Saharawi women have many roles to play; preparing for the celebrations of the national and cultural events, preserving the Saharawi heritage and organizing expositions that reflect the traditional life of the Saharawis. Moreover, the political factions ensure cohesion and interaction in compliance with the requirements of the national struggle, keep the Saharawis in the diaspora informed, organize media and cultural events and participate in the national radio and television programs.

The Saharawi women in the diaspora have other responsibilities towards the society where they live; uprising awareness about the Saharawi cause and maintaining good relations with the locals.

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