What does cycling mean to you? To some it may be a weekend hobby, mode of transport, social outlet, therapy, meditation to name but a few. It's a luxury that many of us take for granted because riding a bike is considered a social norm, one that we began as children and continued to enjoy into adulthood.
A great pedal movement has been sweeping its way across the Middle East over the past few years. Women have begun to ride bikes in public, overcome adversity and promote the two-wheeled lifestyle in a country not wholly accepting. Cycling for freedom and empowerment, groups of women face abuse, threats and even jail time for riding their bike.
To further encourage women's participation in sport and cycling, GSMP (Global Sports Mentoring Program) have developed a series of short videos featuring strong Arab women in the Middle East who are using sports as a tool for development, peace and empowerment in their communities.
“I kept riding my bicycle and promoting this sport to females, and now I can say that women’s cycling is growing in our country and you can see more ladies on the bikes in our streets." - Batoul Arnaout
The second video in the series is entitled "Keep Going" which focuses on the life and work of Batoul Arnaout. An avid sports fan, Batoul grew up in Jordan having participated in a number of activities, but after suffering an elbow injury, Batoul turned her focus onto cycling.
Believing that education through sport can bring around social change, Batoul dedicates her life to promoting and encouraging sports as a learning tool. Teaching her local community to work as a team, abide rules and to respect opponents are believed to be the fundamentals for improving the social welfare in areas like Jordan.
"We're trying just to change the image of women, and to let everyone know that women can do it" - Batoul Arnaout, Founder of BOOST
In 2014, Batoul founded BOOST (Better Options and Oppertunities for Sports Today), a community initiative for athletes to support one another, and help newer members to cycling and other sports. Giving back to the community in this way has became very popular, as one of their main objectives is to promote cycling among females in Jordan.
You learn more about Batoul's efforts to promote cycling and sports by watching the full video below.
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