In Afghanistan’s deeply patriarchal society, sons are valued over daughters – to the point where a family is deemed “incomplete” without a boy. Bacha posh, which in Dari literally translates to “dressed up as a boy”, is a cultural practice in Afghanistan where households without a male heir present a daughter as male dressing them in the masculine attire.
Such parents say they raise their daughters as sons so that they can enjoy all the rights that come with being a man in their society. There is societal pressure for families to have a son to carry on the family name and to inherit the father’s property.
The centuries-old tradition says much about the discrimination faced by Afghan girls quite literally from the moment they’re born.