Girls in Hijab

A Volunteer encourages a girl to break free from gender expectations.

By Brittany Harmon - Peace Corps Volunteer, Macedonia (2013 - 2015)

"Girls can't run, it is too hard for them."

I am a girl, I smile at her, inviting her into the joke;

I know she sees me run through the village.

She unconsciously adjusts her headscarf.

"Girls can't run in hijab."

I show her a photo of Sarah Attar,

the first female Saudi track athlete,

to represent her country in the Olympics-

running in a hijab.

I watch her face, her eyes, taking it all in.

She'll think about it,

which was all I wanted.


This poem was entered in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.

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