Activist Cyclist Peddles Women's Rights in Afghanistan

Jed Lipinski profiles Shannon Galpin, avid cyclist and founder of a nonprofit organization to aid women in conflict zones, who is hoping to improve women's rights in Afghanistan by supporting its fledgling bicycle culture.
April 18, 2013, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"For women in Afghanistan, riding a bicycle is taboo. What is considered appropriate behavior varies from one family and community to the next, but women riding bicycles is 'generally considered immoral,' said Heather Barr, an Afghanistan researcher for Human Rights Watch."

"In the hierarchy of cultural offenses committed by women, it ranks somewhere between driving a car and so-called moral crimes, which include running away from home or being spotted in the company of a man who is not a relative."

“[Female cyclists are] no different than women in Afghanistan who risk their lives to attend school or run for Parliament,” Galpin said. “They know the only way to challenge and break the taboo is for other women to see them riding bikes.”

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Published on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in The New York Times
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