Vroom! Arab women breaking free on two wheels
Female motorbike riders in Morocco asserting their freedom and independence
Dressed in black leather, revving up her heavy-duty Harley Davidson, Hind Daou stands out among other women in Casablanca. She feels the eyes that follow her every Sunday when she hits the road for her weekly ride with seven other Harley ladies. But Hind doesn’t mind the looks, the whistles or the taunts. She‘s very much her own woman. In control. Experiencing independence to its fullest.
A new chapter
In many ways, Hind is like the Harley she rides, representing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Deeds not creeds, self-reliant – Hind has always been like that. Her lust for freedom proved stronger than her marriage. She got divorced while pregnant. Hind found solace in riding her bike, in the camaraderie of the Harley chapter. To guarantee her financial independence, she set up a tourist agency.
“Hind is special,” says RNW producer Raja Felgata. “She’s quite the opposite of the average Moroccan woman. She’s in the vanguard of women’s liberation, a role model which many Moroccan women badly need. Because when it comes to women’s emancipation, the country still has a long way to go.”
Hind is one of the Ladies on the Move, a series of fast-paced video portraits of Arab women asserting their freedom and independence. “She’s a source of inspiration for many around the world, including us,” say Felgata and fellow producer Margo de Haas. “Her story has triggered a lively debate on YouTube and it’s opened up a window for change.”
Meanwhile, Hind keeps her feet firmly on the ground: “People always judge by appearance. But I’m much more than what they see: I’m the mother of a son, I’m the daughter of my parents, I work from nine to eight. I’m independent. I’m a proud Moroccan woman.”