Egypt Girls Cycle to Protest Intolerance Towards Female Cyclists

A mass cycle event took place in Egypt in an act of defiance against the state

We’ve seen some wonderful progress being made in women’s cycling over the past 12 months alone. We don’t just mean in the professional racing industry either, we’re talking about the mass movement across the globe which is challenging cultural regime to allow women to simply ride their bikes.

Throughout the year, we’ve been gripped by the harrowing accounts from the Afghan and Iranian women who face harassment, and even jail time, because they want to cycle. Their efforts to fight back against their state and culture have seen them take social media by storm, and even earn themselves a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Photo: Enas EL Maasarawy

In another part of the world, Egyptian girls face the same adversity. Harassment in the streets, threats and abuse are hurled their way as they pedal past. However, a group of 5 individuals who called themselves: “There is No Difference”, are looking to change all of that.

Since the Egyptian government cut fuel subsidies, the cost of public transport has soared. This has resulted in more women cycling as a means of transportation. However, the barriers they face in the street are enough to scare off women from riding bikes, leaving them with little option for travelling.

There is No Difference hosted their first mass bike ride event as part of their new campaign. Supported by men, women and children, hundreds of cyclists rode through the streets of Port Said in Northern Egypt.

Photos: Enas EL Maasarawy

“Girls can ride bikes, and our first aim is to get society accustomed to the sight of a girl on a bike.” – Israa Fayed, one of the organisers

The event gained widespread support across social media sites, and from local women’s rights groups. Israa Fayed was one of the event organisers, she tells government-sponsored Al-Qanal TV: “We want to show that there is no difference between boys and girls”…”Girls can ride bikes, and our first aim is to get society accustomed to the sight of a girl on a bike.”

The success from their first campaign ride just shows how many people believe that women should be allowed to ride bikes freely. Going forward, we hope the group can continue to smash down barriers and achieve a level of acceptance for female cyclists.

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