Girls who run the world...

Thanks Beyoncé, but unfortunately we do not. Or maybe we do, just from behind closed doors. We do have power, we just need to take it, to express it and use it for the good of our world.

If half of the world is female why does it feel like we have less space? What would happen if half of the world could step out from behind the door and go to school, get an education and eventually a job? When the female half of the world runs out the door and can feel safe in the sunlight, it will be a better day. Despite the right to vote, the Feminist Revolution, Title 9 and the rise of educated girls of the west many are still stuck behind several doors.

Everyday I hear stories of girl’s being confided to these small spaces, of feeling trapped because of their gender. I believe that if we can just offer this space, girls will take it. They will run for it, fight for it and rejoice in happiness as they take up the space they deserve. I know one thing; it’s only going to help our world.

My third week into the beginning of TYO’s first all girl soccer practice, I see this. I see screaming, shouting young girls excited to bring all of their sisters and cousins to this new space just for them. In the first class I remember Sahar asked me if her brother could come. Her big brown eye’s looked at me in shock when I responded that it was just for girls, only for someone like her. The next practice we ventured outside onto the soccer field where the shababs (guys) are always playing. As usual, several were hanging around waiting for others to come so that they could play. When the girls saw this they immediately began complaining, “oh no we cannot play, the boys are here... where are we going to play?” No one thought we could just ask the boys to leave and that they would. But they left and the field became ours. The girls began to jump for joy, skipping around shouting that it was there field now.

They found some space. What happens next? The girls begin to get used to it, they like having their own space. They begin to expect it and to fight for it realizing that they deserve it just as much as the shababs.

It’s not just soccer. In creating all female spaces more girls are willing to stand up. In facing a society, a world that might look at you differently because of taking of your space it helps to have support.  As in many developing regions of the world, there is a lack of space for the girls of Nablus. When they band together they can face the world with confidence. Rawiya (she who tells a story) is one example of this in the Middle East, it is a female photography collective founded by five women that combine their work. Sharing the story of the girl, is critical to the first steps of her confidence and realization.

The girls of Nablus cannot be more ready to take their space, with the camera, on the soccer field and in the classroom.

-Abi is the Triple Exposure Coordinator and a TYO Girls soccer coach.