These images of Albanian women who have sworn to live their lives as men is evidence that bacha posh isn’t exclusively an Afghan practice. They take the oath in service to their families in cases where there are no sons to fulfill typically male roles…


Albanian Women Choose Celibacy to Become Men

Photos by PEPA HRISTOVA, Story by LAUREN RUSSELL / Shared from CNN

“Why women take an oath of chastity to become a man in their society’s eyes doesn’t matter,’ photographer Pepa Hristova said.

“Both choices have the goal to save the honor of the family and that has the highest priority, so the reason behind the switch is not relevant,” Hristova said in translated interview.

Kanun, traditional Albanian law that began as word-of-mouth guidance, permits families without a patriarch to replace the male head of the household with a female in exchange for her promised chastity. These sworn virgins are called “burneshas.”

See the full gallery at CNN.com