Two and a Half Men… To Every Woman

So far during our stay in Morocco we have encountered a lot of unique, exciting, and sometimes uncomfortable situations. However, amidst all of these very unique and very distinct experiences in the country, there are also some things that I have noticed about the everyday local culture in the cities.

What I have been noticing on a reoccurring basis is that there is a very large ratio of men to women that participate in leisure activities. When we walked past the beach on our way to the medina, there appeared to be hundreds of young teenage boys walking along the beach with just their shorts on, about to go for a swim. However I don’t recall seeing a single girl. When we walked through the Oudayas in Rabat and even through the medina of Fez, I saw many young boys playing outside with their friends, but very few girls doing the same. Both times that we went to Mawazine, I found without a doubt in mind that the vast majority of people in attendance were male, albeit there were scattered groups of females. Even though all of the qualitative observations show a large proportion of men to women, when I searched up the ratio of men to women in Morocco the value was 0.97, which is almost equal.

This is very different in comparison to Canada where driving through a neighbourhood you would see equal amounts of girls and boys playing together. It is also different from a Canadian concert where (depending on who’s performing), there is usually a fairly equal amount of males and females in attendance (I should keep in mind that the two performances I saw at Mawazine were Hardwell and Chris Brown which could (?) be more targeted to a male population).

One reason that this gender divide might be occurring is because of the gendered roles that women in Morocco fill. For example, some women in Morocco never leave their houses because it is a sign of high-class status. Additionally, there may be more learning and education done for girls inside the house such as tailoring, cooking, and other gender-specific roles. Some could also say that keeping girls inside the house can reduce the likelihood of them participating in risky behaviours that could harm their family name, however this is merely speculation.

Hopefully as the trip continues I will be able to obtain more information about this in order to better understand what is causing this gendered divide in participation in leisure activities.

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