Women in India are treated like animals: Sania Mirza

Nov 27, 2014, 08:30 IST | Agencies

Appointed United Nation's goodwill ambassador for South Asia, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza rakes up the issue of gender inequality in the country; believes that India needs a cultural change

New Delhi: India's tennis ace Sania Mirza spoke out liberally against gender discrimination in India on Tuesday after her appointment as United Nations women's goodwill ambassador for South Asia, joining the campaign to end violence against women and girls and also raise awareness on gender equality.

Sania Mirza during a promotional event in the city recently. Pic/Getty Images
Sania Mirza during a promotional event in the city recently. Pic/Getty Images 

Courting controversy
"I think a lot of controversies that I faced in my career were because I am woman. Had I been a man, I could have avoided some of the controversies," said Sania explaining the difficulties she faced during her career as a sportswoman.

"For more women to come into sports (in India), the culture needs to be changed. The government is getting involved and I guess that is going to change a lot of things.

Our current Sports Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal supports women's sports a lot and I have personally seen that," said the 28-year-old Hyderabadi. "I'm happy that the government is also opening up and speaking about gender inequality in our society. We need a cultural change and I hope the media takes responsibility too because they can and should make a difference," added Sania, who is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.

Plan of action
On her plan of action as the first South Asian woman goodwill ambassador in UN history, Sania said: "I hope one day everyone will say that we are equal and women are not treated as objects. I will try and do everything I can to bring about a change. Women's safety is something that has been going on.

The Nirbhaya (rape) case opened our eyes... a lot of people woke up to what's going on. Women face discrimination. They are treated like animals and it is not right. The thinking needs to be changed. Mentality needs to be changed. Men must understand that women also go out to do their work just as they do. But even women have to realise their own worth," said India's most successful female tennis player.

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