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The reality behind the ‘Ladies-only’ label

Women in Morocco
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‘Educate men and do not marginalize women.’  That’s what we keep on hearing or reading in every feminist post, which makes us wonder how safe can a woman feel in this world? Have we done enough to help them feel like they belong?  

Recently, Morocco took the initiative to open a ‘ladies only’ park, a project that has raised many polemics amongst Moroccan teenagers. Some may see it as a way of making women comfortable and protecting their privacy, but it remains a policy that has caused a divergence of opinions on the matter.  Such a project can leave one skeptical about how a woman is perceived in a conservative society. 

The initiative taken to create this park is for me a way of settling that a normal park is by default “men’s only”, and by doing that we link normality to men, and abnormality to women. This country already struggles with gender discrimination and this project only endorses this mentality. More generally, I think that putting ‘ladies only’ labels on facilities that are supposedly public places, like parks, schools and gyms is not the best road to take when we want to make societies more inclusive In the 21st century, a separatist society should not be allowed to grow and spread, and we can see that by marginalizing women or creating these parks we are “hiding” them from the world. The image reflected is that of a society that tries to lock women up , oppress their voices and always make us live in isolation. 

  Have you ever heard of this quote “Behind every successful man stands a woman”? This is regarded as flattering by some people. However, have you ever considered how discriminatory its meaning is? I deem it necessary to talk about these separatist societies, and that as a matter of fact is a topic that might have led to the spread of many unacceptable behaviors. 

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When the Moroccan government decided to initiate this project, they launched a personal attack on women, because from now on every woman that goes into a ‘normal park’ may be thought of as an outsider who needs to visit the ‘women only’ parks instead, and to me that is enough to start another feminist war.  Mixed cultures should be normalized, especially in middle eastern and Arab countries, where women always have to be considered inferior or not worth being seen. Societies need to work on the education of their men and invest more money into sanctioning instead of building useless projects like these.

Our societies need change, and, as future leaders, we need to modernize some aspects that are still engraved in our communities since the earliest ages. As a Moroccan young female, I want my country to settle an adequate environment for me to make my voice heard and share my ambitions to make this country strive to its best version. 

Our situation as women has always been a topic of debate, and unfortunately people confuse being conservative to allowing human beings to have their rights. It is high time that these kinds of stereotypes in such cultures are removed, and as we have mixed offices, we shall have mixed public places and mixed schools, and there should be no shame in that nor is it contrary to principles or conventions. What oriental and Arab cultures should be doing is rethinking some standards and their vision of women so as to preserve our societies from being unprogressive, and this might actually be the key to solving many problems and contributing to the development of these countries. 

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