The Middle East is famously the most oppressive place in the world for women. Who would have thought that a group of three women could challenge that oppression by becoming one of the most popular racing teams kicking up dust overseas?
They’re called the Speed Sisters, and they are truly inspiring. It is empowering enough to think that these women are facing the adversities of their own cultures to feel the freedom of the raceway, but it is even more empowering to know that they are good—really good. In fact, their knowledge of their vehicles, as well as their passion for risk and competition, have begun to earn the respect of even their misogynistic male counterparts, who are trailing behind.
The Speed Sisters, the only female racing team in the Middle East, include Noor Daoud, who hails from Ramallah; Betty Saadeh, living in Bethlehem; and Mara, who comes from Jenin. Most recently, they showed off their skills in Aqaba, a coastal city of Jordan, where fans went wild over their successes.
At the race, they placed in the top ten out of 67 competing teams. Some of the competitors (whom they beat out) were Saudi men. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for women to drive, making the victory that much sweeter.
“I’m sure, they go, ‘what the hell,’ you know, she’s Arab, why’s she racing, she’s a Palestinian girl, she should be at home getting married, or you know, just taking care of the house,” said Daoud in an interview with The Telegraph.
Her teammate, Saadeh, spoke about the current Israeli occupation under which she lives, and how racing frees her from that: “You know, occupation is not easy to live, I can’t go with my car to the beach, to Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem. So driving, racing, makes me feel freedom, passion, tough, you know, it gives me a very strong personality.”
The Speed Sisters plan to keep staying free the one way they know how: by tearing it up on the track and leaving their inhibitions at home. Hopefully their courage will inspire other Middle Eastern women to get behind the wheel and give it all they’ve got.