“it’s not illegal, it just needs bravery”
Bushra Al-Fusail is a young female photographer who’s pushing one solution to severe petrol shortages caused by the conflict in Yemen: bicycles.
“In 2011 when there were fuel shortages we could still find petrol in the black market,” she explains, “but things are so bad right now that we can’t even find a black market.” Last week Al-Fusail launched a campaign to encourage Yemeni women and girls to hop in the saddle with a Facebook event called “Let’s ride a bike.”
Unlike in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, women in Yemen can drive and it’s common to see women in cars zipping around the capital Sanaa. But female bike riding is almost unheard of – many conservative Yemenis believe it’s immodest or shows off too much of a woman’s body.
“I see men cycling everywhere,” Al-Fusail says. “So I thought, why can’t we ride bikes too? After all, it’s not illegal, it just needs bravery.”
“People need to change the way they think,” she says. “They need to stop thinking of women as sexual objects, only then will they stop seeing everything they do as sexual.”