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Known as “burneshas,” this is a group of Albanian women who, for various reasons, decided early in their teens that in order to achieve what they wanted out of life, they needed to become men. At the same age when most young girls are learning to embrace their womanhood, these girls instead realized that the overwhelmingly patriarchal culture they live in had no room for female equality.

The tradition dates back to the 15th century and though few remain, these photographs from Jill Peters” “Sworn Virgins of Albania” project show just how much their transformation and dedication has changed the course of their lives completely. They”ve been able to participate and become respected members of their communities, something that would have been much more difficult as women. Take a look.

Haki

Haki

Mark

Mark

Qamille

Qamille

Skhurtan

Skhurtan

Hajdari

Hajdari

Lule

Lule

Lume

Lume

(via Peta Pixel.)

Wow, I can”t imagine making that kind of sacrifice at such a young age. You can find more of the powerful photos on Peters” website.

These women made incredible sacrifices to succeed in a very unfair world. Be sure to share with friends using the buttons below. More people should realize how women still face terrible inequality all over the world.

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