The female-only space will allow women to feel “comfortable,” and offers a range of social activities including Karaoke.
Rabat – A soon to be opened, an unprecedented project in Morocco is drawing nationwide attention. For the first time in the North African country, women will have a unique space, where both men and cameras are banned.
A wave of comments has swept social media since banners advertising the place appeared in public spaces in the city of Tetouan, northern Morocco.
Flower Cafe, set to open its doors for the first time next week is a platform where only women and girls are allowed.
Oumaima Ahrif, an employee in charge of the coffee shop told Morocco World News, “It is 100% women space.”
“Even the staff hired to work at the cafe will be women,” she added.
Speaking to MWN about the inspirations and objectives of the cafe, Oumaima said that the cafe’s owner was looking for a unique idea to replace her previous project with.
The cafe used to be a wedding venue, but the location failed to attract many people due to its calm location.
Ikram Ben El Khalil, the owner of the cafe has been “thinking what project she might replace the wedding venue with for too long before the idea of the only-women coffee shop,” Oumaima told MWN.
She had this idea four years ago, but now the time has come to invest in the idea and see it get off the ground.
Before its transformation, the place hosted several meetings of Ikram’s friends, and that had inspired her to create a unique platform for women where they can feel “comfortable,” Oumaima said.
Although the cafe has not yet opened its doors for customers, the project has already received positive reactions, especially from women.
“We received many positive reactions, with several people asking when the opening will take place. We need places like this in Tetouan,” Oumaima added.
She said that there will be no cameras in the cafes, enabling women to feel comfortable.
“Women with hijab can also remove their headscarves if they feel like it. They can laugh the way they want, they can feel like themselves and can discuss any kind of topics with their friends at Flower Cafe,” she said.
Oumaima does not remember reading any negative comments on the project.
“In contrast, we received good and positive reactions from men too. Some of them said they will take their wives and sisters to the place,” she said.
She said she read some comments on some Facebook pages, which spoke about the project. “Some of them really loved the idea and they said they will no longer feel concerned as it will be a space made only for women, who will feel at ease.”
Oumaima told MWN that there were a few people who did not like the idea, most of them were young people.
Not an ordinary cafe
For the owners and managers, the cafe is not just a simple coffee shop.
Asked if the idea to create the coffee was due to challenges facing women, including sexual harassment, Oumaima said that the owner “never thought about this before.”
“Not at all, I don’t think this was the reason why she thought about this idea. We are not in a dangerous city. It is really normal for women to sit at mixed cafes around the city.”
“It is a special space, we are going to host events to discuss women’s issues here,” she told MWN.
Oumaima said that the cafe will invite academics and guests to debate female-led topics.
She added that the coffee shop will also have a partnership with an association against cancer.
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“A specific percentage of the cafes revenues will go to this association.”
In Morocco, gender-mixed venues are common in urban cities. However, in rural areas cafes tend to be men only zones.