Her name is Milouda, her profession is unusual in Morocco, she is a taxi driver in Rabat. Here is his story.
When you get into his taxi, his customers are amazed. A woman, well made up, dapper and feminine finds herself on the driver’s side. It is surprising since in Rabat, only 5 women drive a taxi against more than 350 other male drivers.
“They call me the man of the house, I’m the one my brothers and sisters go to for advice,” said Milouda, a 40-something mother of two boys. In his family, his profession does not shock anyone even if they know that it can be the subject of ridicule or sexist remarks. She is proud that her family encouraged her to pursue this profession rather than another.
“My children saw no problem there, and it was above all my eldest, who is 30 today, who pushed and encouraged me to do this man’s job,” she confided, adding that many anyway she is known to do as she pleases.
Driving a taxi seems quite commonplace, and she too shares this idea, “it’s like driving my own car”, she said, in Morocco, a taxi driven by a woman is not the ” standard “. Her customers are often surprised to see a woman driving, and by reflex they often tell her “my brother, I would like to go here”, she says before continuing that even today, some male customers refuse to be driven by a woman.
Indeed, the profession of “taxi driver” is monopolized by a macho male milieu which does not like to share driving space with women. “At the beginning I suffered some sexist remarks. I was told + you should take care of your cooking +, + avoid this job, it’s not for women +, + you’re not going to succeed, it’s too hard for a woman +”, explains Milouda, who did not give up.
Because what these taxi drivers didn’t know about her was that she had already been in this profession for a while, but not in the conventional sector. “I was + khettaf + before becoming a taxi, I chose to change because it’s less dangerous and it’s a more structured sector, and besides, I was encouraged to take the plunge, and it That’s how I passed my confidence permit.
Today, she is respected by her peers and claims to be backed and supported, even a little more since she is a woman and this awakens a protective instinct in some men.
“We help each other. If I have a mechanical problem, and I call for help they come to help me, if I need a route they will tell me. They no longer make the distinction between woman and man because we have proven to them that we are capable of working a full day, of taking the taxi very early in the morning or finishing late at night,” she explains.
Five years doing this job, Milouda has no regrets. She chose this job herself, and allows her to be financially independent, to meet her needs and help her children. “If there is a message that I would like to convey, it is that we women are capable of doing so many things, there is no job that we cannot do, we just have to give it a chance,” she pleads.
“Things have evolved in recent years, we have gained rights and we hope to have more, to no longer be judged by society, that we do not feel diminished because we are women, that certain mentalities are changing”, hope Milouda.
“To tell the truth, I hope that women are given value in Morocco. Our country has evolved, it’s not like before when she was despised and humiliated. Thanks to God, Morocco has developed and now the woman imposes herself as it should and we want her to be valued and equal to the man,” she adds.
Aware that a few years ago, she could not pretend to take the place of a man, she considers herself lucky to have had the chance to be surrounded by men who believed in her and who do not not discriminated against because of her gender.
Her boss, the owner of the vehicle and the taxi license trusted her directly and without knowing her. “He didn’t discriminate, he didn’t hesitate to trust me even if there were other men who wanted my place, but he chose to take me after another driver talked about me”.