Video Of The Week: Iran’s Women Of Motocross
Welcome to Road Rider’s Video of the Week!
This week’s video is a news story from France about four hard-ripping women dreaming big and breaking down boundaries in Iran. We meet Baran and three other female riders training in the mountains above Tehran, aiming to become Iran’s first all-female motocross team.
In Iran, women are legally barred from getting a license to ride a motorcycle on the street, and can’t compete in motocross competitions. In fact, women have not even been allowed entry into professional sports stadiums to watch events since the 1979 Revolution.
In 2014, a young female student’s protest outside Azadi Stadium in Tehran and subsequent three-month long detention in solitary confinement spurred a push to finally change the disputed law. The stadium ban was officially lifted last year, though reports suggest women are still not being admitted to stadiums, and critics say the change was simply a gesture to assuage international pressure.
Despite the status quo back home, female Iranian sports teams have found ways to compete internationally in recent years in sports like volleyball and soccer, and have shown they can win. The biggest challenges facing Iranian female athletes like Baran and her team is a lack of financial backing and sponsorship to train at the highest level and to travel abroad to compete.
Still, the opposition, challenges, and doubting looks of others don’t stop them, and they know it is only a matter of time before their defiant example, and the examples of others, leads to real change within their country for women in sports.
If you like the video and want to see more, check out Behnaz Shafiei’s Instagram account @behnaz_shafiei. Behnaz brought attention to Iranian women in motocross last fall through social media, and has become Iran’s most well-known rider. As women like Behnaz and Baran train to compete professionally in international competitions, they are proving that working hard, forgetting the haters, and following your dreams is a powerful combination indeed.