Taking OwnershipThe women of Morocco's argan co-operatives
On a visit to Essaouira (a city located 110 miles West of Marrakech on the coast) we stopped at Cooperative feminie TILILA d'huile d'argane, a co-op that specializes in the extraction, processing and sale of Argan oil.
We watched as these (mostly) older women cracked open the pits of the argan fruit between two rocks and crushed and extracted the oil, preparing it for eventual sale in the two gift shops that were directly adjacent to where they were laboring.
Much of the argan oil produced today is made by a number of women's co-operatives like this one. We were told that all the women who work here are given an even split of the profits.
Employment in these co-operatives provides these women with an income, which many have used to fund education for themselves or their children. It has also provided them with a certain degree of autonomy in a traditionally male-dominated society.