By Sara El Bekri
Morocco World News
Marrakesh, July 26, 2013
Tonight on my way back home I took a taxi and the driver was a woman. Actually, I have been many times in a taxi with a female driver. Yet this time, I couldn’t help but notice how so many people would stare at her. Some would even point fingers at the woman looking surprised and almost annoyed by her being behind the wheel. What annoyed me even more is a young woman who after realizing the taxi driver was a woman found an excuse not to get in the cab and walked away.
Women have started recently doing jobs that have always been reserved for men, such as driving taxis and buses. However, these women are not given enough credit as if they will never be as good as men. There are those well-known stereotypes for instance concerning women drivers and how they just can never be good drivers. Nowadays, this stereotype has become commonplace and male drivers who are not so good would be said to drive ‘like women’.
In my opinion, driving skills have nothing to do with gender as I have come across many men drivers who are terrible on the road. However, there is some truth to this narrative; women can be relatively more scared then men. But again we cannot generalize. There are good men drivers as well as bad and the same applies to women.
I had a little chat with the taxi driver I met about her daily life and I asked her a few questions about how she feels being a taxi driver and whether she gets disrespected or harassed by men. She explained: “It is alright, work is good.”
At first she did not want to talk about men harassment but when I insisted she added: “not really no. Because I put limits every time it happens. There were two cases but I put limits every time. They can sometimes be very disrespectful.”
Then she told me the two stories in details about some men who made sexual advances to her in indirect ways. I feel the need to point out that the veiled woman is married and has children. She furiously told me about one man who was very disrespectful to her: “he touched my hand and said he would take good care of me if I would go home with him to his fancy villa.”
The men would usually brag about their huge villas and great wealth trying to tempt the woman assuming she would be interested because she works as a taxi driver. The idea that men have about women who do jobs such as taxi driving is the biggest problem here. These uneducated, brainless men believe they have every right to hit on those women because they chose such jobs.
For some males, the fact that a woman is driving a tax is interpreted as an open invitation for sex (as stupid as it sounds).
Those female taxi drivers are women who go out every day to work all day long to be able to provide for themselves and support their families. And sadly, they have to do this while struggling with all these stereotypes and misrepresentations and most importantly being in constant fear of sexual harassment.
To these fighters, I take my hat off!