The Speed Sisters

The Speed Sisters are an all-female, Palestinian automobile racing team that compete on the West Bank's professional car racing circuit.[1][2]


The team was first formed in 2009, with support from the British Consulate in Jerusalem.[3] Because the British Consulate in Jerusalem funded a race car for them, the team decorate the car with both Palestinian and British flags.[4] Karen McLuskie, a British Consulate representative and head of the British effort to sponsor women's car racing in the Palestinian territories, has said that she believes that 2011 "will be the Speed Sisters’ year. They will show more power and more ladies will join the team,”[5] The women compete in regular races against men, including the Speed Test, an annual race that began in 2005.[1]

Team captain, Suna Aweidah, described the racing team as "a dream come true," although she acknowledged that her "family was not happy for me to start participating in this kind of sport."[4] Team member Mona Ennab can boast that she was "the first girl to make the race here in Palestine."[2] The head of the Palestinian Motorsport Federation, Khaled Khadoura, says that the women are serious competitors, and that he is "very proud to see our young women today taking an interest in race car driving, and training in order to improve themselves."[2] One member was ranked among the top ten racers on the Palestinian circuit.[2]

The team, which has already broken stereotypes in a male-dominated society, is breaking more by welcoming Sahar Jawabrah, its first member to wear the hijab, or Islamic head scarf. Safety-conscious, she covers the hijab with a helmet when racing. But women who drive race cars are not applauded in all quarters. With auto racing growing in popularity throughout the Muslim world, some Muslim clerics have condemned it for being frivolous and un-Islamic. Others call it haram, or forbidden according to Islamic law. One shopkeeper in Ramallah told a reporter that it is not an appropriate sport for Palestinian society, and that he, "would not allow my wife, my sister or my daughter to race."[2]

In 2013, Anthony Bourdain took a ride with the Speed Sisters in his series Parts Unknown.[6]

In 2015, a documentary film Speed Sisters was released detailing the exploits of the racing crew.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Car-racing Palestinian girls speed into record books with first all-women team", Diaa Hadid, June 26, 2010, AP story published on Fox News.
  2. ^ a b c d e Frenkel, Sheera (2 July 2010). "In The West Bank, Women With A Need For Speed". National Public Radio. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  3. ^ Nelson Gilbet, Samuel; Simeonov, Lazar (13 October 2013). "Palestine's fast and furious females". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b Hollis, Leslie (26 July 2010). "Palestinian Women with a Need for Speed". Voice of America. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  5. ^ Salameh, Razan (9 August 2010). "Women racers` cars not up to speed". Ma'an News Agency. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Jerusalem". Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Season 2. Episode 1. 15 September 2013. CNN. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  7. ^ Shabi, Rachel (15 June 2015). "Speed Sisters: meet the Middle East's female car-racing team". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2015.