Afghanistan’s pioneering female runner
For one young Afghan woman, sport has become a tool used to encourage other women and girls to defy the cultural norms that discriminate based on gender. Zainab, who started running last year, aims to “open the way for other girls”.
In Afghanistan, women are largely confined to their homes; participating in sports is therefore considered “out of the ordinary” and met with insults from spectators.
Free to Run founder Stephanie Case says that women like Zainab participating in marathons hold a lot of symbolic importance. Not only are these women reclaiming public spaces for themselves, they are overcoming gender hurdles and opening up “a large amount of space for other Afghan women to follow”.