The Underground Girls of Kabul: The Hidden Lives of Afghan Girls Disguised as Boys, Jenny Nordberg.

In Afghanistan, where society is ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as a failure. The author follows Afghan girls who live disguised as boys through childhood and puberty, only to be expected by adult age to transform into subordinate wives and mothers. The book is anchored by vivid female characters who bring this ancient phenomenon to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian whose youngest daughter is chosen to pose as her only son; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and resists her parents’ attempts to turn her into a woman; Shukria, who was forced to marry and have three children after living for twenty years as a man; and Shahed, an Afghan special forces soldier, still in disguise as an adult man.

Jenny Nordberg is an investigative reporter, correspondent and author. She is based in New York, Stockholm and Kabul.

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