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Lina Geoushy documents the inspiring female athletes pushing back against Egypt’s biased sporting culture

In Lina Geoushy’s latest work, commissioned by Malala Fund and 1854, she delicately documents the daily lives of Rooka and Malak, a 20-year-old Olympic gymnast: two Egyptian female athletes who emblemise strength and determination in the face of stigma and discrimination by the country’s patriarchal sporting culture. 

1854 x Malala Fund: Against All Odds © Lina Geoushy 2021

Geoushy has little interest in fuelling false Western ideas that all Middle Eastern women are oppressed. But, “Malak and Rooka are breaking stereotypes that are ingrained in Egyptian culture,” she says, “where mixing with men and moving or exposing your body lessens your value as a woman.” 

Cleopatras Scoring Change is an ode to their resilience — and to sports, more widely, as a vital part of young people’s search for identity, community, and purpose. The Malala Fund’s mission is to ensure every girl around the world has access to safe, equitable and quality education; in Geoushy’s case, she envisions an Egypt wherein sports can not only align with this, but play an important role for those who want it to.

Lina Geoushy

Lina is a photographer working across the spectrum of social documentary and portrait photography. While studying, she started combining her experience in communication & psychology to tell stories that deconstruct and question the public's perception of the prevailing power of patriarchy. Her photography is a process of intuitive connections and collaborations with people that serve to empower them, providing a platform to tell their stories.

Her work largely explores gender politics and women empowerment issues. She strives to push the boundaries through her work by exploring rarely documented communities and topics.

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