Tunisia- Nisaa FM-Tunisia women cyclists challenge gender norms.
Breaking gender norms
According to a report by AFP, bicycling has made recent inroads in the Tunisian capital, with women leading the peloton to achieve greater mobility and break gender norms as the coronavirus pandemic boosts the two-wheeled trend.
Every Sunday morning, the Japanese garden in central Tunis is transformed into an impromptu bicycle academy for dozens of novice cyclists. The students are adults and nearly all women, who missed the chance to learn to ride as children.
Burden of past
"I came to free myself from the burden of never having learned to ride a bicycle," said Samia, 40, who is proud to have mastered cycling by her second training session. "We didn't learn as girls, it wasn't the done thing in our culture. This patriarchal view of society meant that only boys were given bikes. Thankfully things are changing now," she said, promising to teach her own children to ride.
This time "lots of people got involved", said Stephanie Pouessel, co-founder of Velorution Tunisia. "It's a symbol of autonomy. A way for women to take control of their transport, and thus their life."
Velorution is an activist movement born in France in the 1970s, which aims to promote cycling as an alternative form of transport, while changing people's relationships with urban spaces and their neighbours.