Moroccan women achieve outstanding feats in the fields of science, literature, politics, sports, and business, making them role models in their country and elsewhere.
As a Moroccan woman, seeing accomplished women from my country shine on the global stage makes my chest swell with pride. These women are scientists, authors, athletes, businesswomen, and politicians that I admire for their remarkable achievements. I personally see them as Superwomen: Heroines that honor my country and raise the Moroccan flag high up in the air with their outstanding accomplishments.
At a time of crisis, when women face disproportionate risk due to the coronavirus pandemic, recognizing these heroines is more important than ever. These women are a ray of hope, a motivation, and an inspiration that can uplift Moroccan women during the good times and the bad.
Fatima Mernissi is a Moroccan feminist, sociologist, and writer. Throughout her career, she has shown exceptional devotion to her faith and activism. Mernissi has raised her voice about the issues that marginalized women face in Morocco. She has conducted a series of studies in Morocco as part of her work as a sociologist.
Mernissi’s scholarly and literary work includes “Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World”, “The Forgotten Queens in Islam and Intersectionality”, “Women’s Rebellion & Islamic Memory and Gender Roles” and “Beyond the Veil and Ethnocentrism”. Mernissi received several prestigious awards including the Prince of Austria award and the Erasmus Prize.
Touria Chaoui represents the epitome of fearlessness and heroism for Moroccan women. Chaoui attended an aviation school based in Tit Mellil starting in 1950. Already a licensed pilot at the age of 15, she became the first Arab woman to fly a plane.
The young pilot received an award from Sultan Mohamed V in recognition of her achievements. Her success came to an end, however, in 1956, when she was assassinated, leaving Moroccans grieving the loss of the brave woman she was.
Nawal El Moutawakel
The world-renowned former Moroccan hurdler Nawal El Moutawakel has long been an inspiration for Moroccan athletes. El Moutawakel won the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the 1984 Summer Olympics, making her the first Muslim woman born in Africa to win an Olympic medal. Her victory was a significant breakthrough for Morocco.
King Hassan II honored her when he announced that all Moroccan girls born the day of her victory would be named Nawal. Her outstanding hurdling performances have earned her several awards as well as the love and support of Moroccans.
Nezha Bidouane is a retired Moroccan hurdler. Representing Morocco, she has won several gold, silver and bronze medals. Bidouane won the 400-meter hurdle gold medal at the 1997 World Championships in Athens and the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. She also shined in the 1999 World Championships in Seville, where she won the 400-meter hurdle silver medal. Additionally, she has won the 400-meter hurdle gold medal at the Mediterranian games of 1991, 1993, and 1997. Bidouane’s impressive record, courage, and achievements are still celebrated in Morocco to this day.
Aicha Chenna is a Moroccan social worker and an advocate for and supporter of women’s rights in Morocco. Chenna is known for having a heart of gold and her continued efforts to help others.
Chenna founded the Association Solidarite Feminine (Female Solidarity Association) in 1985, an organization that focuses on helping and assisting single mothers and abused women. Chenna also published a book titled Miseria, where she exposed the societal issues that women face in Morocco. Through her charity work and activism, Chenna has become an icon of Moroccan feminism.
Khadija Arib is a Dutch politician of Moroccan descent. She was elected to serve as the speaker of the Netherlands’ House of Representatives in 2016. She is known for raising her voice about issues that plague society such as racism, discrimination, abuse, and domestic violence.
A feminist at heart, Arib has continuously advocated for women’s rights and female empowerment. Prior to her involvement in politics, she worked as a civil servant, educator, and social worker.
Zineb Mouline has an extensive educational background in chemistry. Upon obtaining her Ph.D. in Chemistry and Physical Chemistry of Materials at the National School of Chemistry of Montpellier in France, Mouline moved to Japan. She joined the Department of Frontier Materials of the Nagoya Institute of Technology.
The researcher has since found her place in the land of the rising sun. She is currently fluent in Japanese and works with the Department of Applied Chemistry of the prestigious University of Tokyo.
Nezha Hayat is an example of a successful and influential Moroccan businesswoman. Hayat was named president of Morocco’s Capital Market Authority (AMMC) in 2016 after serving as chair since 1996. She attended the highly prestigious ESSEC Business School in France.
The businesswoman worked in Spain for seven years before returning to her home country and becoming the first woman to join the board of a banking institution in Morocco. In July 2019, King Felipe VI awarded her the Medal of Commander of the Order of Spanish Civil Merit. Hayat is a model to look up to, a powerful woman that has proved her worth in business.
Narjiss Nejjar has continuously proven her creativity through her films. She attended the Ecole Superieure de Realisation Audiovisuelle (ESRA) in France and went on to establish herself as an influential filmmaker that uses her platform to represent her community.
“L’exigence de la Dignite” (1994), “Khaddouj, Memoire de Targha” (1996), “Les Salines” (1998), “Le septieme ciel” (2001), “Le miroir du fou” (2002), “Les Yeux Secs” (Cry No More, 2003), “Wake Up Morocco” (2006), “Terminus des anges” (2010), and “L’amante du rif” (2011) are only some of Nejjar’s creations. The acclaimed filmmaker is a living proof that filmmaking is a career Moroccan women can successfully pursue.
Meriem Chadid is a Moroccan-French astronomer, explorer, and astrophysicist. Her childhood was marked by a passion for astronomy, sparked the moment she read a Johannes Kepler book. Chadid followed her heart and earned a PhD in Astronomy and Space from the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse. Chadid became the first Moroccan and French woman to reach the heart of Antarctica and she was the first person to plant a Moroccan flag in Antarctica.