Call for Book Chapter – Riding to Freedom: Women and Bicycle in the Muslim Context

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Afghan cycles: Women biking in Afghanistan, 2013 (Photo by Jenny Nichols)

Book Title: Riding to Freedom: Women and Bicycle in the Muslim Context


Scope of the Project:

Bicycles, before the introduction of the digital revolution, were perhaps considered the single most important technology that changes the lives of ordinary women and perhaps men. While the right to ride came as a given for men, women struggled to establish these rights. Conservative forces argued that bicycles would hand women more independence and freedom than would be appropriate for society. Nonetheless, this battle was won by women a hundred years ago. Although the initial introduction of the bicycle brought no opposition to women riding bicycles in Muslim contexts in the 19th century, it later became subject to many controversies to the detriment of women’s mobility. A host of reasons were used, including religion, sexual provocation, modesty, and safety, to deny women access to bicycles in public spaces. Today, women have utilized a variety of strategies to make public spaces safe for women-riders, given that it is one of the most affordable and environmentally sustainable means of transport.

The goal of the book is to bring together various debates and views on women and bicycles in Muslim-majority countries, as well as the initiatives that women have taken up in promoting and facilitating women’s bicycle riding within the public space. These include engaging in public discussions to counteract and resist the cultural, ideological, legal, or religiously imposed limitations on women by conventions such as religion, states, or non-state actors.

Recommended topics to explore, but not limited to:

  • History of women and bicycle in a particular Muslim majority country and the attempts to normalize riding bicycles for women
  • Women’s collective riding action/demonstration
  • Women’s cycling in relation to education, mental health and bodily autonomy
  • Mobility, cycling, environment and gender
  • Moral policing, sexual taboos and bicycles
  • Effects on the economic status of women
  • Public harassment and gender norms
  • Campaigns to teach women to cycle
  • Dress codes for cycling
  • National federation of cyclists



Important Dates:


March 14, 2023: Abstract deadline

March 25, 2023: Notification of acceptance

July 1, 2023: Full chapter submission

August 15 , 2023: Review comments of chapter submitted

September 30, 2023: Revision deadline and final submission


The abstract should be no longer than 500 words. In your abstract please include the background, the purpose of the research, methodology (how the data is being collected), and significance of the research. In addition, please include a brief bio (max 150 words).

If accepted for publication, the full length chapter should be between 5000-7000 words (including photos, drawings, maps, figures, tables, and references).


Please email your abstract and bio or any other question you may have to Dr. Hanieh Molana at and Dr. Homa Hoodfar at Please include “Riding to Freedom” in the subject of your email.