By Hadeel Hegazi
After the significant success of We Will Wear Dresses, the Girls Revolution is now launching a new campaign on its Facebook page to support women’s rights; We Will Ride Bicycles. The campaign calls for the rights of women and girls to be able to freely ride bicycles in the streets of Cairo, without attracting negative attention or judgment from their community.
“We are truly seeking that one day, Egyptian women can go anywhere they want, riding a bicycle, without fearing harassers or anyone else,” as stated on the official Facebook page of the event.
“The campaign’s main objective is confronting the unjustified rejection of the community concerning females riding bicycles,” said Michael Nazeh, one of the founders of the campaign. Nazeh added that many girls cannot exercise this simple sport because they either fear people’s negative opinions, or because parents are afraid they will encounter rudeness and harassers in the streets.
Nazeh detailed the campaign goals as “to stimulate the culture of bicycles in our community, as an alternative to the daily traffic jam, as a green mode of transportation and as an important sport as well.” He added that by organising this campaign they encourage girls to make their own decisions without paying attention to people’s negative feedback.
The Girls Revolution Facebook page is not managing the event alone: “We cooperate with the Go Bike team, we have the same goal concerning the event, and that’s why we decided to work together. They have experience in events of this kind and they will supply us with the needed bicycles and equipment, like first aid tools and a security car,” Nazeh said.
The event was met with opposition because of the fact that it is dedicated for girls only. To see if people preferred to open the event to both genders or keep it specific for women, a poll was created on the Facebook page. “The results of the poll thus far show almost equal numbers, that’s why we will wait until closer to the date to see the final result,” Nazeh said.
When the idea for the campaign was launched, it immediately received a lot of comments, both negative and positive, on social media. A female Facebook user said: “I will ride my bicycle and I will feel the breeze of the air going through my hair.” Others expressed how much they miss riding bicycles since childhood, and how much they would like to have the freedom to practice the sport without being perceived as abnormal or impolite.
One male Facebook user described his negative feelings regarding the event being only for females: “Why do we have to exclude half of the community in order to demand the other half’s rights? The event being only for girls is sexism and racism in itself.”
Nazeh said that the opponents or supporters gain respect for each other as they exchange their opinions. “People who prefer keeping the event for women only believe that they should first try it out alone and then later create an event for both genders, and people who chose for it to be both females and males want girls to get used to joining guys, in order to overcome their fear and lack of self confidence.”