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Tough Afghan Girls Fight Harsh Gender Oppression With Their Bikes

Girls aren’t supposed to ride alone in Afghanistan, so a group of them formed a tough (biking) gang.

“So, can you tell me what you’re doing here?”“This bike riding club is to encourage girls to ride here in Kabul. There...

Posted by Humans of Kabul on Saturday, July 19, 2014\n

While experts may disagree, revolutions tend to be fought with weapons, not bikes. But inside Kabul, Afghanistan, an outrageously brave group of Afghan teenage girls are fighting to argue otherwise. Not too long ago, Fatima Haidari and a group of Afghan girls became frustrated that, as women, they weren’t supposed to be out on the streets alone. So they did what most people in this situation would not do: they hopped out of their houses, onto their bikes, and into the streets.

Every Friday, Haidari and her friends get together to ride bikes throughout the streets of the capital. Bikes were donated to the girls through the nonprofit Mountain2Mountain, which advocates for girls in conflict zones. For many of the girls, this was their first bike not to come from their brother or relative.

Haidari told NPR: “It's really new for our society to see women outside their house because we usually think women are supposed to be home to raise the children or take care of the husband … We're trying to push women to have equal presence in society, and biking is just part of it.”

As a kid, Haidari tore down the streets of Kabul on her bike. But the moment she became a teenager, people started to stare. Grown women aren’t supposed to be alone on the streets of her city, Haidari explained. While it’s not exactly illegal where she is, it’s frowned upon, and sometimes unsafe. Haidari was afraid to ride a bike by herself. So she did the most revolutionary thing she could: she called a friend.

Image via Flickr user Jeff M

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