Society 13 July 2015 5 793

The Untamed Shrew

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A working man’s life in Egypt is hard, long days of manual labour in the scorching sun, in return for wages that would barely pay for a light lunch  in first world countries. But even that meagre income is beyond the reach of the country’s women, widows with children struggle to find work.  

Related: Meet the first woman taxi driver in Afghanistan

Sisa was different; her husband died when she was barely 20 years old and, determined to bring up her baby daughter, she found a way to beat the system. Refusing to find herself a new man, instead she became one!  She dressed like a man, walked like a man and learned to talk like a man too and for over 40 years she worked like a man to bring in the money she needed to provide for her child.  

Related: After their men left to seek employment abroad, many women in Tajikistan had to learn to do traditionally men's work 

She often had to run when her secret was discovered but, now in her 60s, the local community accepts her as a man and she has no regrets about her unusual but effective survival strategy. Watch the film in Russian.

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