Our goal must be to close the gender gap

Updated: Nov 27, 2019, 07:52 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

There were eight matches, four first-round matches, two semi finals, one third-place match and a final, in an action-packed, instant one-day tournament. Each match spanned 20 minutes

Representation picture
Representation picture

This newspaper held Mumbai's first ever five-a-side inter-school rink football tournament for U-16 girls called Ranis Of Rink 2019.

The city's top eight girls' school teams, measured by their Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) performances, competed against each other at a Bandra turf to decide who will be the Ranis Of Rink.

There were eight matches, four first-round matches, two semi finals, one third-place match and a final, in an action-packed, instant one-day tournament. Each match spanned 20 minutes.

This is not about winners or scores. This is about the bigger picture about gender and sport, and what good such tourneys do. We need to have many more opportunities for girls at the grassroots level.

One way to start closing the gender gap is to try and get more girls to play this game. Schools are a good place to start.

Just like roots that fan out wide and go deep into the ground and are the foundation of strong trees, we need to establish strong roots to form a lasting base which will support a generation of women footballers. Equality begins with equal opportunity.

For many girls, it is not lack of talent but a lack of avenues that holds them back. Little boys take to the roads on holidays, brandishing cricket bats when traffic is thin. They play football in public spaces, girls hardly do so.

Through conditioning and stereotyping, their world is much more closed off. Ranis Of Rink should become a part of the ecosystem we build to have gen next champions. Bend it like Beckham, girls.

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