It's Her Turn: Female Skateboarders Inspire Girls to Defy Expectations

Prominent skate photographers celebrate how girls and women inspire and support each other to achieve their dreams. That's the Skateistan difference.

It's Her Turn: Female Skateboarders Inspire Girls to Defy Expectations

Skateistan, an international NGO that empowers children through skateboarding and education, launched a powerful collection of photography and film to illustrate the importance of female role models for girls and young women.

NeverforgettogivebackJanwar-India by Norma Ibarra

Skateistan runs programs in its five locations around the world (Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamyan in Afghanistan; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Johannesburg, South Africa) and focuses on providing safe spaces for girls, who are often excluded from sports and educational activities. (Read more about how Skateistan’s creative blend of skateboarding instruction and classroom programs empowers underprivileged youth, especially young girls, to build a better future.)

Mubaraka Muhammadi_girl in front of Bamyan Buddhas for Skateistan

The photo collection, also called ‘It’s Her Turn’ features skaters Andrea Benitez, Brighton Zeuner, Nicole Hause, Tania Cruz and Cata Diaz and includes photographs from Mimi Knoop, Zorah Olivia, Norma Ibarra, Raisa Abal, Olga Aguilar and Hannah Bailey.

The short film features contributions from pro skaters Amar Hadid, Lucy Adams, Sarah Meurle and Helena Long. Earlier this year, a female-directed film about Skateistan took home the Oscar.

Skateistan South Africa by Hannah Bailey

Around half of Skateistan students are girls and all Skate Schools have female General Managers, providing role models for young girls who might otherwise be limited in their expectations. Because of Skateistan, the highest concentration of female skateboarders in the world can be found in northern Afghanistan. (Learn more about Skateistan's gender-inclusive programs.)

Cambodia Skateistan by Zorah Olivia

Sara is on the girls’ soccer team at Skateistan Mazar-e-Sharif and describes how her Educator, Mubaraka, inspires her in all aspects of her life. In turn, Mubaraka was also a student at Skateistan and explains that she was inspired to chase her dreams by Zainab, who is now Country Manager for Skateistan in Afghanistan.

Deputy Executive Director at Skateistan, Claire Dugan said: “All around the world, girls are restricted in many aspects of their lives. It’s often assumed that girls are less interested in sports, but this is often simply that they don’t realize their own potential because of a lack of role models, encouragement, or access to safe spaces. At Skateistan, we want to challenge that idea and show girls that they can be whatever they want to be. Skateistan provides a safe environment where girls can skate, learn, and express themselves. By employing women as leaders and educators, we can show girls that it’s possible to achieve their dreams. This campaign will help us to keep running programs that empower girls and give them the tools to lead the next generation.” (Read about how Skateistan makes it safe to skate.)

Mubaraka Muhammadi for Skateistan_student in Mazar-e-Sharif

It’s Her Turn aims to raise $75,000 and will run until the end of July. The campaign will benefit Skateistan students in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. Around the world, Skateistan has around 2,500 active students, half of whom are girls.

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Care to learn more about Skateistan? Read more articles and interviews here:

Skateistan: How Skateboarding is Changing the Story for Kids in Need
Part 2: The Skateistan Difference – Skate Schools to Build a Better Future
Part 3: Skateistan Makes it Safe to Skate
Skateistan Film “Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone” Takes Home The Oscar
International Women’s Day: Skateistan’s Program Gives Girls a Unique Chance at an Education

Feature image by Olga Aguilar