(Scroll down for video) In some parts of the world, women are still seen as second class.
Some women choose to live as men in order to get the family inheritance.
According to the Kanun tradition, in parts of Albania, women do not get any family inheritance. Property is always inherited by men. When a woman gets married, the woman moves into her husband's house. Marriages in the Kanun tradition are arranged at a young age.
The role of women is to be a housewife, care for children and maintain the home. The life of a woman is considered only worth half that of a man.
For followers of the Kanun tradition, the dress is an important marker to distinguish between genders. Men wear pants, hats and wrist watches, while the women wear skirts, scarves, aprons and sometimes even veils. Women cannot drive a car and they cannot do other tasks seen as jobs for men.
A Woman who wants to hold on to family property, money or power can choose to become a man by dressing like a man and take on responsibilities of a man. So an Albanian woman, who dresses as a man, is a man. Women who become men in Albania, are called Virgjinesha-sworn virgins.
In the video below, one woman shares the reason she chose to live as a man. Pashke, explains why she became a sworn virgin.
Pashke had a hard childhood. She never knew her father, as he died when her mother was pregnant with Pashke. Then when she was one year old, her mother left her, and she grew up with her
grandmother and uncle.
Pashke was their sole provider for them and if she married she would have to move in with her husband and abandon her ailing grandmother and uncle.
At age 35, still unmarried and alone, Pashke decided to live as a man. She felt that the way to make life more bearable is to live like a man. She feels that in today’s generation girls should not follow in her footsteps. “They are more choices today, there is better education today,” Pashke said.
Today, Pashke believes there are about one hundred sworn virgins left.