If you Google “number one sport for women in Afghanistan” the first result will send you to a Wikipedia page that states that cricket and football rule the land. The second result will show you a mom’s website that states that skateboarding is numero uno when it comes to sports for young girls in Afghanistan.
Are you as surprised as I am?
According to Business Insider, it’s a big taboo for women to ride a bicycle. It’s right up there with women driving cars and going out with men who are not their relatives.
This left women to find alternative means of transportation. And that’s where skateboarding comes in.
Since skateboarding is a fairly new concept in the country back in 2007 — when Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich opened the back-to-school program, Skateistan, that teaches Afghan kids how to ride a board — no one deemed it inappropriate for girls to learn.
“There were no preconceived ideas or notions about whether it was something that girls or boys did, let alone it being seen as a sport or either a feminine or masculine thing,” photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson told Fast Company. “It is regarded as something that the children can play and have fun with, a simple board with wheels like a toy, that they can do in the safe confines of a school environment and feel free to fly around.”
Business Insider reports that while more than 900,000 boys attended school in Afghanistan in 2002, women and girls were “almost completely excluded from educational opportunities.” Women were not even allowed to go to school at all.
But thanks to this new school kids are going to classes and 45 percent of them are women. Not only have they empowered the youth but they’ve also given women new opportunities that girls were never allowed to have 13 years ago.
Keep kickin’ and pushin’, ladies. And maybe do an ollie or two for all the women you’ve inspired.
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