Girls: Pushing Boundaries in India, Mozambique, Morocco
How a Moroccan surfer, rape survivors in India and a student activist in Mozambique are fighting for women’s rights.
Oumaima Erhali is a young Moroccan woman determined to become a full-time surfer.
She is part of a generation pushing boundaries in a country, where some believe the beach is no place for a young Muslim woman. But the teenager won’t let stereotypes hold her back from the sport she loves or the life she wants to lead.
“Surfing is like going for therapy,” says Erhali, who learned to surf by herself. “I love how you fly in the air like Spider-Man.” She contends surfing doesn’t contradict with Islam. “Being a Muslim comes from the heart. I like surfing because it makes me happy.”
India’s Power Girls
Afreen Khan is a 17-year-old girl who is part of a generation of Indian women fighting rape and sexual harassment.
Along with other young rape survivors, Afreen has formed a vigilante group called The Red Brigade. Together, they march along the streets in their red and black uniform, drag young men out of their homes and publically humiliate them for harassing women.
They also teach self-defence to the girls of their community and organise protests.
“Whenever there is a case of sexual abuse we take charge. We go, meet the victims and help them overcome the trauma,” she says.
True gender equality might seem a remote dream.
However, in Mozambique, small steps are being made in the fight for women’s rights thanks to the passion and determination of women like Suzete Sangula.
The 18-year-old student activist has made it her mission to educate girls and young women about their rights, and teach them strategies to defend themselves.
“My parents had a traditional mentality and I have changed their minds,” explains Sangula. “Now, they grant me my space in society and at home. So other people will also end up granting me that space. That is what motivates me to continue.”