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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Mountains Are Ours

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Many have labeled Afghanistan to be the worst place on earth to be a woman, over the past 30 years of war and conflict. This project explores what life is like for young women growing up in post-Taliban Afghanistan. For a team of female mountain climbers, the mountains represent a place of refuge. Many struggle with issues related to difficulty accessing education, war trauma and poverty. Every girl on the team has faced discrimination based on gender.


This story is a series of profiles of the girls, which is strung together into chapters. There is also a short doc component that follows the girls on a climb. It becomes apparent that the girls aren’t free or safe, even in the mountains.

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