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Ladies, This is Not Fair Play

When I was 8, my girlfriends and I organized a football team in my neighborhood. It was a wonderful solution to pass the long and warm summer days, in a time where internet, play stations and dance carpets were science fiction.

That summer we encourage the girls in near neighbors to make their own football teams. For middle January we were in position to play the first football championship in the area. The only objective for the challenge was play; we didn’t have any requests about suits, age, appearance, religion, or location: If you were a girl who wanted to play, you and your friends were very, very welcome.

Lately, I’ve been reading in newspapers and magazines information from all over the world about woman in sports activities and the way they must to look in. Just to mention two examples. In one hand, The FIFA dismissed Iran's women's football team, killing their possibility to be part in the Olympics Games in London 2012. The reason, the inappropriate dress the players looked composed for pants, long-sleeved shirt and Muslim headscarf. The authorities of the entity even argued that the headscarf worn by Iranian girls, it was unsafe to perform on the court.

In the other hand, FIBA (International Federation of Basketball), decided to change the uniform, putting the short 10 centimeters shorter than the standard and doing the t-shirts tighter. The arguments given for one female representative to support the measure, was this is a way to bring more comfort for the player, improve their identity as women and sign the difference from men, in a traditionally manly-male environment.

There are many reasons to forbid or change uniforms and in these cases, the reasons are very far from the comfort, gender promotion and women identity issues. Actually, the only two concepts linked here to women are Discrimination and Sexism.

Discrimination. Yes sir. Religious Discrimination. The headscarf is part of Muslim women identity. In a western world full of prejudice against Muslims and suffering an excess of false information about what Islam is about, the suspension of the Iranian girls contribute to feed the wrong and the confusion.

Are the Olympics Games an occasion for meeting people around higher values such as peace, diversity and enhancement of the human qualities that make the world better, around the sport? Or not? Are there political issues involved that cross and go further, beyond the decision to leave out Iran from the competition? Maybe would be useful to check which countries are often making trouble to the participation of covered woman for religious options in official sports activities.

If is a matter of safety, why not promote rules against violence in football or strengthen controls over the behavior of the public to prevent the entry of sharps stuffs, bottles, fireworks and others which could cause troubles during the Olympic Games?

We are always listening from politics, leaders and feminists about the need to encourage Muslim women to more visible stages. How is possible to do this if the core of them, their identity and the elements that represent it, are being banned?

Sexism. The International Basketball Federation mentioned the suit linked to female identity as a critical element directly related with the capacity of women to perform sports. So, the players are something where someone decides what to put on and off? Just tools without more complex dimensions? These decisions and the arguments that support them just show the strong male approach inside sports, beyond considerations about physical issues. And the sexist sight, one more time, used to make people watching basketball for wrong reasons.

These arguments, promoted in the name of a false equality and gender perspective, become oppressive to the women involved. This is a matter of power that comes from money, sponsors and commercial agreements deciding what is a woman, how she is used to build and deconstruct her identity, agree with advertising aims, and many more that never includes women as subjects, but as instrument used to stimulate voyeurism, the consumption of beer and junk food, buying sports goods of high brands, but in any case, the respect for women, her inclusion in the sport, or the practice of sports activities for health improving.

Is time for sport to show its true colors and makes a statement, clear and loud, about how to fill that empty vase between rules, tolerance, and gender. Identity is a constant search without term or day of arrival. It belongs to everyone as a right and cannot be used or manipulated under the terms and conditions of others.Finding and defining our identity is a transformation process where sport can be a strategic contribution towards a better and happier human being.

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YAOtieno's picture

Interesting

You ahve some very strong points which I quite agree with - It seems like double standards

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

ruthibelle's picture

you're correct

This is indeed an issue that needs to be addressed. You're right in demanding that the religious beliefs of football players should be respected and accommodated. It's ironic how they just assumed that making basketball gear tighter and shorter would make these women feel more 'comfortable'- because that's part of what defines femininity, right? Short, tight clothes ... I hope your voice will be heard on this matter.

Love,
Ruthibelle
ruthibelle.blogspot.com

ruthibelle's picture

you're correct

This is indeed an issue that needs to be addressed. You're right in demanding that the religious beliefs of football players should be respected and accommodated. It's ironic how they just assumed that making basketball gear tighter and shorter would make these women feel more 'comfortable'- because that's part of what defines femininity, right? Short, tight clothes ... I hope your voice will be heard on this matter.

Love,
Ruthibelle
ruthibelle.blogspot.com

usha kc's picture

Nasreenamina sister, nice to

Nasreenamina sister, nice to read your feeling. I do salute to your feelings. keep sharing more.

Osai's picture

Interesting read

I enjoyed reading your piece. It speaks truly to the discrimination women face in sports and extends to our bodily integrity. Who decides what we wear, how we look and what we represent? More often others rather than the women involved.

Thanks for sharing.

Best wishes,
Osai

Twitter: @livingtruely

In this battle for the revaluation of human values, the place of women is a recapture. the height is that we do not know how long we have not occupied our place.
But, as women, we still pride of what we are because we have acted for the evolution of our society in spite of those marginalization . Because for us it is not the physical aspct which count. We influence the ideas, actions by our existence. In our battle, our body does not move much but our big heart play its proper role, it receives tender bumps and problems, purify and return them to their causes.
the strength of women is not in his muscles. Beyond the physical strength, intelligence that we share with men, we have a very sensitive and that characterizes us. It iss one of our most special forces.

For a promising future, the participation of women is a requirement.

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you Girls

Hello everybody! thank you for your posts. Every comment is an important feedback for me. It's true our strengt is not in our muscles but on our spirit, that's in all human being. Women must to try to make every space where humans can develop in spaces for women and for everyone. We must to try everyday to open doors and recognize our valuable contribution. We must to go Citius, Altius, Fortis for our rights and stand up for the first of all of them that is: our freedom to decide who are we. Warms Regards

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

skildevfoundation's picture

Politice and power

It is a pity, that is the game of politice and power.
Join Skildev today to empower women economical for sustainable living..

Mrs May Okonkwor (Teach a Woman How to Fish)
Founder/CEO
Skill Development Foundation For Women and Youths (SKILDEV)

MaDube's picture

Interesting

Reading you article was very interesting. It was even more interesting for me when you said; "Discrimination. Yes sir. Religious Discrimination. The headscarf is part of Muslim women identity. In a western world full of prejudice against Muslims and suffering an excess of false information about what Islam is about, the suspension of the Iranian girls contribute to feed the wrong and the confusion." All along I actually thought the issue of the Islamic headscarf was one of the issues that the women's movement has been fighting to get rid of arguing that it represents the Muslim man's idea of how a woman should dress and spoke of his sense of ownership of her, namely that she is his and only he can see her uncovered. Your perspective, when you defend it as your identity and that attempts to force women to remove it reflect Western prejudice brings a whole new perspective to my understanding of the issue and that to me is quite fascinating.

nasreenamina's picture

Is a decision

Dear Madube, using the hiyab or not is a decision up on the woman that not depend or have any relation with to be a property of the man. Is the patriarchal and not coranic interpretation that gives to hiyab that meaning. The thing is in fact Coran doesnt comand to use a veil, comand modesty. There are interesting articles about.

The concept about what modesty is and how it shows in clothes change agree with the culture and is always up on the woman. For some women hiyab is a part of their identity. The core of the subject for me is doesnt matter how a woman define herself, she has the right to keep her identity and the elements of this definition that are important to her, in this case the scarf. Only she must to decide about who she is and how she express this self concept to others. As muslim I support the right I have to define my identity by myself. Is true there is a movement against scarf and also there are a group that pres women to use it. Both are wrong in my opinion. Noone has the right to tell others how they must to look like. Espirituality is a personal path.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Gertrude Bvindi's picture

No to Discrimination in Sport!

I am reading this and thinking about the trouble that my own country faces in sport and i feel your anger and frustration. I have played sport, almost anything for a long time, but becasue we are women, we are never taken seriously. It is very unfair for us to be judged on stereotypes and i feel sport like everything else should be free, we should as women be able to define what is free and comfortable for us.

I hoe someone out there is listening to our cries. I am tired of playing rugby for a team that plays second fiddle to the men's side, simply because the sport is administered by men. Religious freedon should be considered in sport despite one's orientation, and that includes making rules that also encourage free play and that do not discriminate aganist other people. There is really no justification for this level of intolerance for other religions in sport, except for the fact that we seem to uphold the views and standards set up by the sponsors.

I say no to Discrimination in Sport

Gertrude

Gertrude Bvindi

Gertrude Bvindi's picture

By the way upholding sponsors

By the way upholding sponsors views is no justification for discrimination

Gertrude Bvindi

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