Although social, mental, physical or even biological barriers may hold back women from building a career as a sportsperson, a story shared by Shathira Jakir Jessy -- a Bangladesh national team cricketer – during an event titled ‘Panel Discussion on Women’s Empowerment through Sports’ at The American Center yesterday could help change that fact.
“Actually nothing comes easy for a woman. There is a time in a woman’s life when they have to focus on studies and here in Bangladesh another time comes when they need to get married followed by the time when they need to have a baby. Even I have a baby. But for me I don’t think of it as a huge barrier. I was even about whether I could carry on playing cricket when I was about to have a baby. But I started playing within five months of having my child,” said Jessy.
Another important message which could have inspired the 50 or so teenage girls present at the event was conveyed by Ashreen Mridha -- a member of the Bangladesh Women’s National Basketball Team.
“Often in Bangladesh we think that sports is such a thing that you take as a hobby during your school days but gradually you let go of it when you move to your professional life. So it is something you let go of, not something you carry it with you.
“Carry it with you. Whether or not if somebody encourages you, you need to carry it throughout your life as it is something that defines you,” said an optimistic Mridha, who is also the co-founder of a group called ‘Deshi Ballers’ -- a platform for women of all age groups and all backgrounds to encourage and help women to continue playing basketball.
When the youths present were handed the opportunity to ask questions by host Joshua Kamp, the response was delayed, which could be an ideal representation of how if broader audience paid more heed to women’s sports, perhaps could change the landscape.