Women also have taken part in shaping the automotive world! Females have won numerous race championships and some of these key figures are from our own countries. Meet the Middle Eastern ladies that broke all stereotypes related to male-dominance in the auto world and achieved great results in international and national car-racing competitions.
Al Qubaisi sisters
Meet Hamda and Amna Al Qubaisi, your not so typical 14 and 16 year old teens. These Emirati sisters are actually professional racecar drivers who participated in international major car events. Last year, Amna became the first female Emirati driver to represent the UAE when she raced at Portugal's Rotax Max Challenge. While, Hamda headed to Sweden to compete in the Karting Academy Trophy Race.
Their ambition is: "We are spreading the word that women can do everything," Amna says. "We can do anything, even if it's a men's sport. We can show them that we are capable of doing what men can do."
Nancy Al Majali
A 40-year-old Jordanian veteran and dedicated rally driver who formed an all women car-racing team along her friend Nadia Shnoudeh. Back in 2015, she came 3rd in Jordan’s rally race. According to Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body for many auto racing events, Majali ranked 10th out of 12 in the drivers’ classification of the 2011 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, the only woman on the list.
Nancy believes that “Women can also excel in sports and auto sports is one of them but society needs to give them the space to achieve their goal”.
The first female rally driver in the Middle East who was born in our own country, Lebanon. The Qatari national won the Middle East Rally Championship in Dubai back in 2004 and won the ladies’ cups in the Middle East Rally Championships in Lebanon and Syria. In 2012, she was also selected to carry the Olympic torch in London.
Nada says “Back in my time, there were hardly any sportswomen from the GCC countries, but look at things now. I am still trying to encourage women in the region to take up any sport of their choice especially if it is not against any religion or culture”.
Meet Lebanon’s only female rally driver. Steering her way through sand dunes and rocks in a four-wheel drive is Sonia's thing! Back in 2003, she won the trophy of the Aisha Gazelles rally in Morocco. Irrespective of the challenges faced she returned to her country as a champion and her inspiration came from watching a film about female car racing when she attended a fashion show in Paris.
Sonia (on the right) believes that “You might not find female solidarity so much during daily life, but during the rally it is essential”.
Mona, Noor, Maysoon, Marah, and Betty are young Palestinian females who came together to form the world’s first all-female car racing team. The Lebanese Canadian director Amber Fares released a movie documenting their story.
Maysoon the team leader thinks that “female racing-car drivers becoming a formidable force within the Arab world is just like anything else in any other place: “You prove that you are strong enough, not scared, that you can compete with the men and then it just becomes acceptable.”
Know any other female Middle Eastern car race drivers? Or have the passion to become one, share your story!