Traditional headdresses, banned by Islamist group, return to Mali

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Issues surrounding women’s rights and the treatment of women received special attention around the globe during International Women’s Day on March 8. To commemorate the occasion, Reuters photographer Joe Penney documented traditional headdresses worn by the women of Gao in Mali.

Radical Islamist group MUJAO (Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa) placed limitations on these headdresses during their nine-month reign, which ended in January with the arrival of French and Malian troops. The headdresses, made of beads, gemstones, fabric and fake hair and traditionally worn by elites for special occasions, were criticized by MUJAO, who said they were not Islamic enough.

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