07.27.12 6:15 PM ET
Fast and Furious Women
Laleh Seddigh, Iranian race car champion, is on her way to the big screen. I know I’ll be watching the documentary about her—yes, her. The New York Times profiled her in 2005, when she sped and swerved to defeat all her opponents to win Iran’s national auto racing champion:
[To compete,] she petitioned the national auto racing federation in this male-dominated society for permission to compete against men. When it was granted, she became not only the first woman in Iran to race cars against the opposite sex, but also the first woman since the Islamic Revolution here to compete against men in any sport.
Seddigh also has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management, a Master’s in Industrial Production, and is in the last year of her PhD studies in Industrial Production. And she's giving Ahmadinejad a hardliner-headache: by allowing and subsidizing the production of the film he seems to have found himself on his party's left flank.
Seddigh is not the only one breaking these boundaries. +972 profiled five Palestinian women who compete in race car championships in the West Bank. They, too, are the only women in their field—and they, too, have a movie deal.
“Cars have a lot of symbolism in terms of freedom,” says Fares, director of the forthcoming film. Maybe that’s why, in Saudi Arabia, women still aren’t allowed to drive them. These films likely won’t be making the rounds there.