Today is Women's Day, which has been celebrated in our country for a long time. It is also a day to realise the rights of women and
12:00 AM, March 08, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:28 AM, March 08, 2019

International Women's day

'Give women more room'

Zobera Rahman Linu, a former table tennis champion and national sports awardee, spoke to The Daily Star about the challenges that women still face in the sporting sphere today and how she feels those challenges can be overcome.

Today is Women's Day, which has been celebrated in our country for a long time. It is also a day to realise the rights of women and bring equity between men and women. I think women will not enjoy their due rights until males changes their views towards females. Our demand is to get due respect from the state but we have enjoyed little till today although there are some females in the top-level administration.

The percentage is not good but the hope is that it has gradually changed.

From a sporting perspective, I will say that I am not getting the opportunity due to being a female despite having the competence. I can't prove my ability until I am given the room to prove myself. Not only me, a lot of female organisers are facing similar problems to mine in sport. They may think that I can't do the job as a female organiser or that the male counterparts don't want to work under me. Such poor mentality still exists in sport, resulting in female organisers being deprived of serving the country through sport.

It is not a new issue in sport; it has been practiced for long time in our male-dominated society. A woman is not only a homemaker; she also has qualities by which she can work outside but males have to create an environment for females by changing their attitudes.

Another thing I want to mention is that there is still discrimination in sport between female and male athletes in terms of prize money, wages, facilities and the country's representation abroad. Being an organiser, I tried to reduce the discrimination by evening out the prize money in table tennis but I faced barriers from my colleagues. I do agree the male athletes are better but I think female athletes should be given more room to represent the country. I strongly support that equity must be brought between female and male athletes, not a hundred per cent but as much as possible.

I must say that sport is a subject which helps athletes learn many things for life, to explore different cultures, customs, people and countries and I am really grateful to be part of the sport family. Through sport, I learned to accept defeat, which really helped me outside the ground. So, sport is a very important tool for all kids to learn how to win, lose, be determined, gain leadership qualities and many other things. So, I really expect the state will create a sporting environment for all kids for a healthy nation.

In the end, I want to make an appeal to all athletes and organisers to perform their own duties well from their respective areas because there has long been a hidden conflict between athletes and organisers. It has been a thought that one group is inoperable without the other. We must come out of this poor mentality and think of supplementing each other.

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