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Vroom! Arab women breaking free on two wheels

Female motorbike riders in Morocco asserting their freedom and independence

She’s different, dynamic, daring. Radiating freedom, power, change. Hind Daou is not your average Moroccan woman. Her extraordinary personality and independent mind leave no one untouched. Witness the many views and comments triggered by an RNW video on YouTube. 

In this story: 

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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.”

Pride
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.” 

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Facts & figures

Moroccan women walking in the desert

Women’s rights in Morocco

A progressive new family law, adopted in 2004, permits men only one wife unless their wife signs an agreement

 

At least 10% of parliamentary seats are reserved for women

 

A 2009 law allows women to divorce their husbands without the consent of the husband

Casablanca Chapter Morocco, Hind and Touria

Casablanca Chapter Morocco

Local chapter of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), established July 2007
 

Brings together some 50 Harley and Buell riders from the Casablanca area
 

Has a full calendar of rallies, rides and social events including charity
 

Harley ladies video

Morocco HDI

Human Development Index 2012: Morocco ranks 130th (187 countries)
 

Per capita income $4,384
 

Moroccans under the age of 25 make up 65% of the population

Impact

First week on YouTube:

  • Nearly 200,000 views
  • 400+ likes
  • 100+ dislikes

Embedded on 10 major Moroccan websites, including the leading news website Hespress.com

Reactions on YouTube:

“I do not understand why there's so much wickedness and no relation with religion? We see a Moroccan woman and mom being passionate about her bike, and we can be proud of her. Each person has their passion and expresses in their own way, and so many passions exist! Hind, cheers to this mom and to the woman you are, I wish you many beautiful things and success in your professional career. Thank you to Margo and Raja, the two journalists who came all the way from Holland specially to meet you, a big thank you to you girls, it was a memorable moment.” Zineb K on YouTube


“Morocco can only  be proud of all the women who increasingly assert themselves and become an example for all the women in the Arab world to follow if they wish. Thank you Ms Hind, and bravo to you!” Mounia Limani on YouTube