An ugly gender profiling

Dhaka,  Monday,   2016-09-17
Published : 17 Sep 2016, 21:00:48
Opinion

An ugly gender profiling

Shihab Sarkar
To call the deplorable way in which our nine soccer princesses have recently been treated mere shocking is a gross understatement. In fact, the incident has once again showed that our women in general are held in low esteem. Although we wax lyrical about our role in the uplift of the womenfolk, we are actually inescapably bound by the age-old baggage of biases against them. Should we call it a kind of ingrained misogyny? We are yet to let our women taste freedom, and stand alongside men in the traditionally male-dominated areas. Gender profiling seems to be inherent with us.  

The whole episode was distressing.  All this started from the girl footballers' journey home by a local bus from the capital.  Along the way, the buoyant teenagers aglow with the feat of an amazing football performance had to endure disparaging comments by a section of the passengers, ending up in the ugly treatment meted out to them by a teacher at their village school at Kolsindur in Mymensingh district. The nine members of the victorious Bangladesh team playing in the AFC Women's U-16 (under-16) Championship matches were threatened with 'transfer' from their school by the teacher. Their offence was they had declined to agree to play in a local football match in the absence of permission from the Football Federation. Besides, they needed time to prepare for exams. They insisted on staying in Dhaka at that time to train at a coaching centre.  Later, that teacher physically assaulted the father of a player.  Shoving their stunning achievements into the bin of oblivion, the teacher has virtually emerged as a villain. 

The girls brought laurels for the nation, with people longing to see them honoured ceremonially. What has happened instead points to the fact that a section of the people does not want to see girls, the womenfolk in general, break out of their traditional confines.

Not long ago, the Kolsindur girl footballers made headlines with their undaunted spirit in proving the truth that they can also leave their mark on soccer. Upon being trained in Dhaka, the best of them have played in a number of regional matches. Against their recent feats of victories, the nation looks to them with great expectations. The fact that these girl players are all set to make the nation feel proud in the field of soccer, a sport in which our performance has yet to achieve anything remarkable, is beyond doubt. 

The only morale booster the nine girls may find to be keeping them vibrant comes from the villagers.  It's these simple folks who have encouraged them to embark on their challenging journey to a strange world which is always filled with the spectre of disappointments. The Kolsindur heroines have proved their genius in style. It's now up to the authorities concerned to help restore the sense of dignity robbed of the girls.

shihabskr@ymail.com

 
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