Iraqi girls take part in all-female cycle

"I'm proud that this is a message I am sending to my country. I tell them it is normal. A girl on a bike is nothing to be ashamed of" - Student, Abrar Abdelkader

Location: Mosul, Iraq

Mosul hosted its first all-female cycling marathon

as girls on bikes remain an unusual sight

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STUDENT FROM MOSUL, ABRAR ABDELKADER, SAYING:

"I participated to overcome the obstacles in Mosul, the idea that girls cannot go around freely. I want to break this barrier and show that a girl can be free, that she can go and wear whatever she wants. And that when a girl rides a bicycle, no one should criticize her, by saying it is inappropriate because she is a girl. Our society is complicated, girls are not given their full freedom, everything is for the boys."

Each participant received a training bike as a gift

Date: April 12, 2021

The competition included 40 female riders

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STUDENT FROM MOSUL, ABRAR ABDELKADER, SAYING:

"I'm proud that this is a message I am sending to my country. I tell them it is normal, a girl on a bike is nothing to be ashamed of. Let your girls ride bicycles, to go here and there. The most important thing is to trust them, they won't break this trust, they will be up to this responsibility."

Video Transcript

INTERPRETER: I'm proud that this is a message I'm sending to my country. I tell them it is normal-- a girl on a bike is nothing to be ashamed of.

I participated to overcome the obstacles in Mosul. The idea that girls cannot go around freely. I want to break this barrier and show that a girl can be free, that she can go and wear whatever she wants. And that when a girl writes a bicycle, no one should criticize her by saying it is inappropriate because she is a girl. Our society is complicated. Girls are not given the full freedom. Everything is for the boys.

I'm proud that this is a message I'm sending to my country. I tell them it is normal-- a girl on a bike is nothing to be ashamed of. Let your girls ride bicycles to go here and there. The most important thing is to trust them. They won't break this trust. They will be up to this responsibility.