Biking toward women’s rights in Afghanistan

Posted by Ditza Katz in Women's Health 08 Sep 2014

Women’s rights to ride a bicycle is not yet accepted in Afghanistan, and the courageous fight of a few pioneers caught the attention of Shannon Galpin, an activist and National Geographic Adventurer who has been working in Afghanistan trying to promote women’s rights since 2006.

The article, Biking Toward Women’s Rights in Afghanistan, tells about the tiny National Cycling Team of Afghanistan, a 10 member team ranging in age between 17 and 22, whose fight is featured in a film that is due out next year, with Ms. Galpin as the co-producer.  Take the time to read this inspiring story.


  • Afghanistan has long been one of the most difficult places to be a woman
  • They tell us that it is not our right to ride our bikes in the streets. We tell them that this is our right. Then we speed off
  • Men driving by insult them. Boys along the road throw rocks at them
  • women on bikes being told that they dishonor their families
  • Every day, they are reminded that it is taboo in Afghan society for a woman to get on a bicycle. And still they ride
  • These young women look at it very cut and dry: ‘My brother can ride a bike, why can’t I?’ They’re cognizant that they have this right
  • If women were allowed to ride bikes, it would open up educational and health care opportunities, especially in rural areas
  • Every day, the Women’s National Cycling Team of Afghanistan faces ridicule and threats. And still they ride—with their eyes on the 2020 Olympics

We are rooting for their dream to become a reality, and for all women in Afghanistan to own their rights.