Give women space and freedom to excel in sports

The dropout rate of girls in sports is twice, if not three times, higher than boys.

This is due to many factors, including a judgmental society and the lack of education and support system.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day today, The RSS with HD highlighted the challenges faced by girls and women when picking up a sport and the need for such issues to be addressed.

The RSS with HD, a talk show that airs on YouTube (The RSS) every Sunday at 2pm, is hosted by actor and comedian Rashid Salleh and features Twentytwo13 editor Haresh Deol.

Haresh, who holds the subject close to his heart, recalled an incident during his days reporting school sports where a young girl who reached puberty earlier than her school mates started becoming conscious while playing hockey.

“There was a time when she was holding the hockey stick in one hand and covering her top with the other. It did not help that her teacher, who was her coach, laughed at her,” said Haresh.

“The following year, I didn’t see her playing hockey. And we could have lost a good talent.”

Rashid and Haresh also spoke about young girls being educated about wearing the right gear – like sports bras and headgear – during training or in competition.

They also highlighted that some women shied away from hitting the gyms or picking up a sport because they were judged on how they looked or what they wore.

Rashid, who has a son and daughter, said he encouraged his children to play sports and that more parents should allow their children, including young girls, the freedom to partake in sports.

The show ended with a call to provide young girls and women a safe space to be active.

“We need to also have a safe environment – mentally and physically – so that every girl or woman can jump as high as she wants to or run as fast as she wants to without anyone judging her,” said Haresh.