After decades of banning women from riding motorbikes in public, Iran will finally allow women to race on a public track.
Women riding motorbikes in public has been banned for decades in Iran. But ever since she discovered it, Shafiei, has become the country’s most celebrated female motorcycle racer and leading activist to remove the ban. For the past three years she campaigned to persuade the Federation to allow women to have their own race. Her efforts paid off February 3 when she and 30 other women finally raced.
Azadi Race Track hosts many of Iran’s major automobile events. The first scheduled ride for women will be Monday, July 17th, 2017, and then every Monday and Wednesday thereafter.
“This is an important moment for women in Iran,” Behnaz said. “First with our all-women’s race and now this. This means that women’s rights are being respected and we’re finally achieving our demands more and more each day.”
The decision by the Federation comes at a perfect time for Shafiei: Last month she just returned from a month-long visit to the US for advanced motorcycle racing instruction. Besides meeting with several top racers, Shafiei competed and trained on tracks in Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and California.
But the US visit nearly didn’t happen, thanks to President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Iran, working tirelessly with his contacts at the US State Department, Hooman ‘Mo’ Tavakolian, President of Tavak Partners and Shafiei’s global representative, was able to open doors not typically accessible for this kind of travel.
“It was paramount that we get Behnaz into the States when we did,” said Mr. Tavakolian “Not only for her training, but to help promote her cause in the States and support her growing worldwide profile.”
The open Azadi track schedule means quite a bit for Iran: First, it’s a sign that Iran’s gender landscape is changing and catching up to the rest of the world; second, that females can now enjoy a growing sense of equality; and third, that Shafiei has a semi-permanent home to develop her own formidable skills and consistently practice what she learned while in the US.
“I’m excited to share in Behnaz’s victory and watch her fulfill the promise of changing the perception and lives of women in Iran,” said Mr. Tavakolian. “It’s good to see gender equality and sports diplomacy at work in Iran.”
About Tavak Partners:
Tavak Partners is a unique sports management and consulting company that reflects the philosophy of its President and Visionary Founder, Hooman ‘Mo’ Tavakolian. Mr. Tavakolian believes that sports is a powerful tool to impact lives and change the world. A widely sought after sports diplomat and liaison, this former national level and USA Hall of Fame wrestler advocates peace initiatives and social progress through sports. Since 2010, Mr. Tavakolian’s athletic gear outreach program has donated over 1,000 pairs of athletic shoes to children in the poorest parts of Eastern Europe, Brazil and Iran. Tavak Partners was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in New York City.