I think [ the bicycle ] has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world.”
— American suffragette Susan B. Anthony in 1896 —
In 2008, I made and published the book Girls, Muslims & Motorcycles, together with writer, travel companion and then-lover, Gaea Schoeters. In text and photos, the book tells of numerous encounters and adventures during our overland motorbike journey through nine Muslim countries in Eurasia. There the seed was planted for my new, big project :
— Stories, ventures, and how to crack a stubborn nut
Women face obstacles moving in public spaces, be it prejudices, traditions, prohibitive laws, violence. All over the world, courageous, creative women have found ways to overcome these obstacles. Using specific means of transportation, they challenge gender stereotypes, gain independence, self-confidence and strength. Each one of them changes her society from within, and becomes a role model inspiring others to follow suit.
In the West, the pioneering work was mainly done in the past. Women truckers no longer raise eyebrows, nor do woman motorbikers and pilots. The pioneers (still alive) were born in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Outside of the West, it is happening now : Iranian truck drivers, skateboarding girls in Cambodia, a pilot in Pakistan, 4×4-riding bedouins in Oman, cycling girls in rural India, drivers in Saudi Arabia, taxi scooter riders in Bangladesh and Tanzania.
Move she does will be the platform for a large number of portraits and stories of these pioneers, in photos, text, video and audio.
In order to build credibility from the outset, I want to launch two projects simultaneously : one in Europe and one in Iran. And that’s why I need funding : to be able to meet these women, to make the images and the interviews. The project website, intermediate targeted publications, and a first small book will be the next steps.
The further roll out of this project, and for me one of the most important and valuable pillars, is the distribution of the Move she does-stories in the countries where I find them : in local media, in schools, in villages, together with and by local women.
Below a draft map of my research thus far (update 2.1.2022)