Women Behind the Wheel

Feature Documentary
96 mins

Cat and Hannah, two British women in their twenties, take on the treacherous 3000km drive along Central Asia's Pamir Highway - the second highest international road on Earth – and one that few women have undertaken solo. It runs from the southern Uzbek deserts, through Tajikistan's Pamir mountain range, climbing over 4600m into Kyrgyzstan and all the way to its vibrant capital, Bishkek.

Their route brings them to the doorsteps of women from all walks of life, revealing a women's movement that's had as many ups and downs as the drive itself. A 78 year-old gynaecologist recalls the turbulent transition from Soviet rule to independence, and testimonies of domestic abuse, 'bride kidnapping' and religious extremism expose the region's complex attitude to women's rights.

But despite the evident patriarchal oppression in these countries, it's certainly not the whole picture. Cat and Hannah discover women igniting change from within their communities - from a group training Tajikistan's first ever female trekking guides to a feminist collective running workshops on sexual pleasure. They begin to realise that feminism exists in all shapes and sizes - and collectively, the smallest changes can amount to a quiet revolution.

Catherine Haigh and Hannah Congdon