Jenny Nordberg biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Jenny Nordberg
Photo: Magnus Forsberg

Jenny Nordberg

Jenny Nordberg Biography

Jenny Nordberg is an award-winning journalist based in New York. A correspondent and columnist for Swedish national newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, she has a long record of investigative reports for, among others, The New York Times, where she also contributed to a series that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. In 2010, she was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism for a television documentary on Afghan women. She is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).



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Interview

Jenny Nordberg, the author of Underground Girls of Kabul, discusses the practice of bacha posh, dressing young girls as boys, in Afghanistan.

Who are the bacha posh of Afghanistan?

Bacha posh is the term for a girl who is "dressed up like a boy." These children are part of a hidden practice in which parents disguise daughters as sons. Instead of wearing a headscarf and a skirt or a dress, a little girl will get a short haircut and a pair of pants, and she'll be sent off into the world as one of the boys. The bacha posh look like boys, they learn to behave like boys, and to those around them who don't know, they are Afghan boys.

Why are girls disguised as boys in Afghanistan?

It's a creative, some would say desperate, way to buck the system in a suppressive, gender-segregated society. In Afghanistan, men make most of the decisions and women and girls hold very little value. From the moment she is born, an Afghan girl has very few rights and little control over her own life. She often cannot leave the house without an escort. She must guard her behavior and appear modest at all times. (For a girl to ride a bike, for instance, would be seen by many as inappropriate.)

For Afghan girls, posing as a boy opens up a whole new world. It affords a girl freedom of movement; for some that means a chance to go to school, for others the ability to work ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Jenny Nordberg at BookBrowse
The Underground Girls of Kabul jacket
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