Meet Souad Hdidou, who is challenging stereotypes as the only woman taxi driver in Morocco’s capital Rabat and one of the few in the country.
Previously, there were seven licensed women taxi drivers in Rabat, but they all stopped except for Hdidou, according to Reuters.
The 33-year-old previously worked as a truck driver and for a fish distribution company after dropping out of school but decided to become a taxi driver because of the better pay and greater freedom, she said.
But things aren’t easy for taxi drivers in the country, as most drivers don’t have access to state health insurance or pensions.
Costs for renting a taxi operating license and car operating expenses are also very high, accounting for up to 70 percent of Hdidou’s monthly revenue.
On top of that, women drivers tended to face sexual harassment from passengers, Hdidou said.
However, she persists in order to fulfill her childhood dream of working in international transport.
“How I chose this profession did not come by chance because I’m the kind who likes a challenge,” Hdidou said.
Since she has been driving, she has built up a solid customer base, especially among women.
“I rode with [Hdidou] many times, and I am very comfortable while I am with her in the car,” a woman passenger named Nouhila Asah told Reuters. “I can talk to her like a Moroccan woman, unlike when I ride with a man, I am silent. I cannot talk to him or even speak on the phone with comfort. But with a woman, I am comfortable as if I am with my sister or my mother.
“So we need more women taxi drivers,” Asah added.
Hdidou now earns enough to pay the mortgage on her flat and support her family. She is now in the process of gaining different types of driving licenses in international transport.