Afghan Women Fight for the Right to Bike

by Sarah Fonder

A woman on a bike is no big deal, right? The average female cyclist doesn’t raise many hairs these days, but as we pointed out in last fall’s Oct/Nov story “Riding High,” this hasn’t always been the case. In Victorian America, it was actually pretty taboo for women to ride, and the ensuing restrictions helped to spark the activism of the twentieth century women’s rights movement. Over a century later, history is repeating itself in Afghanistan, where women are more frequently on the back of a man’s bike than behind the wheel. Though the country has an official Women’s National Cycling Team, Afghan law has relegated their activity to the underground. However, the brave team has no intention of staying in the shadows, and they’re currently in the process of recruiting more women. If they succeed, it might inspire the same kind of activism that led to the 19th Amendment.

This inspiring rebellion makes Afghanistan a really exciting place to be a woman right now, and the organization Mountain2Mountain is looking to capture it. The group’s activist wing Combat Apathy announced that a documentary on the Afghan women’s cycling revolution is in the works. While Afghan Cycles will start production this spring, they still need help getting the project off the ground. Fortunately, you don’t even have to leave the country to contribute: Mountain2Mountain is taking online donations and hosting drives in bike shops all over America. We encourage you to give what you can and spread the word, because this could be one of the biggest women’s movements to happen in awhile. If American bike activists accomplished so much without access to modern technology, imagine what Afghan bikers could do now.

Read more about the project and get involved at Combat Apathy.

Image via The Afghan Women’s Writing Project.

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