Afghanistan’s National Women’s Cycling Team has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Italian parliamentarians
The Team has used the bicycle as a vehicle for social justice, enduring violence and social stigma. In 2013, it became the first Afghan women’s team to compete on the international stage, at the Asian Cycling Championships in Delhi, India.
Afghanistan had a women’s team as early as 1986, but that program was scuttled during Soviet and subsequent Taliban control of the country. It was reborn in 2011 when Abdul Sediq, coach of the Afghan men’s national team, founded a team around his daughter, Marjan “Mariam” Sedequi.
The team now has dozens of women, who ride in pants, loose-fitting shirts, and hijabs beneath helmets to avoid attracting additional unwanted attention. A feature-length documentary on the team is due for release in 2016. Following a media campaign to include the bicycle in this year’s Nobel nominations, 118 Italian parliamentarians from all political groups signed to nominate the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team.