Zana Daka from Prishtina, past her 30s, is the only Kosovar woman that participates in auto racing. Her first race was back in 2013. She was the only woman among the men and placed 3rd in the “Mountain Races” organized by the Kosovo Auto Sport Federation.
“Races boost my confidence and make me feel spiritually complete. The fact that I am the only woman in races makes me proud sometimes but there are also times when I feel bad because I wish there were other women who participated,” says Zana.
She says that she isn’t bothered by the fact that she is the only woman in a predominantly male sport.
“Racing with men does not affect me, because it is a tradition I have inherited from my grandfather, my aunt, my father and brother, all of whom auto race. I’ve inherited the culture of this sport and automobiles in general…It’s a family tradition that we have passed on from generation to generation,” she added.
Other Kosovo women are also interested in motor racing, although few of them were brave enough to take a further step and participate.
This interest can be seen in various groups on social media and various activities of motor race lovers.
On the group “Marakli t’kerreve” (Car lovers) that unites individuals who love cars on Facebook, from the total of 41,000 members, around 2,000 are girls.
The admin of this group, Behar Cakiqi, says that a number of girls ask different questions of the group when they need help with their cars, but only around 3% of them are regularly active in daily discussions.
Although this shows that motor racing remains a passion more prominent among men, there is lately an increased interest among women. Some of them say that despite their interest, they often hesitate to express it from fear of prejudice.
Arianita Veseli, an 18-year-old girl from Prishtina, says that she prefers to read and learn of the latest activities and events regarding auto races rather than getting directly involved.
“To participate you have to be ready to ‘fight’ a lot of stereotypical discriminating comments that mostly come from men,” she says.
On the other hand, Violeta Maloku, member of “Maraklit’kerreve” (Car lovers), views the group as a large family that increases her love for motor racing.
“As an enthusiastic follower of local and international races like me, it is impossible not to fall in love with cars. On the other hand, the information I get in the group, advice on where to be cautious, meetings with the other members and the various activities we do, are extra reasons to love cars and be more careful in traffic,” she says.
To Maloku, her car is “freedom.” For that reason she takes maximum care of it, both in the technical and the esthetical aspect. She discovered that there are other women who love cars, so they meet regularly to share knowledge and experience.
“It is a little hard because there are stereotypes when it comes to women and driving. However, this never stops us because sex does not determine who should like cars and who shouldn’t,” says Maloku
On the other hand, Drenusha Salihu, a 20-year-old woman from Fushë Kosova, expresses her passion for cars on groups, but a little differently. Although she became interested in cars from her brother’s toys, today, she wants to show the world that cars are not only for men.
“When I was a child my older brother had a lot of toy cars and given that I didn’t have many friends, I played with him. Growing up I started thinking why toys had to be labeled “for boys” and “for girls.” Why do girls have to play with dolls and boys with cars? This made me want to play with cars even more, and to know them better,” says Drenusha.
Her passion deepened as she started getting more interested in car parts and motor racing.
“I began to do research… In the world we live today, everything on the internet is only one click away. Inspired by what I read, I also began to write about parts that could interest or help someone,”she wrote.
Today, Drenusha is a paid online blogger. She writes about new products of a number of motor racing brands. Her aim is not only to help people by sharing her knowledge but to also show them that “girls can have knowledge about cars and give clear complete information about them.”