Women sports fans discuss need for inclusivity in fan space
JSW and GMR co-owned franchise Delhi Capitals and Fever 104 organized a discussion with a group of women sports fans along with RJ Supriya for the occasion of International Women's Day. Despite women being a major part of sports and IPL fandoms, they continue to experience sexism and non-acceptance in both online and offline fan spaces.
Aditi Agarwal, a literature student, expressed that once her friend found it strange that her mother watches football, "There is a stigma associated with women following sports. I remember telling a friend that my parents woke up at 5 am to watch a football match. And that friend asked me 'Your mother was also watching the match?' And then I asked him what was the problem with my mother watching the game?"
Riddhima Wali, a commerce student, said that she receives bizarre reactions when she tells boys that she likes cricket, "If I tell guys that I like cricket. Then they react by saying, 'Oh my god! A girl likes cricket'. And I don't understand why is it odd or special if a girl likes cricket. Why is this crazy?"
Chaitanya, a law student, reflected upon another problem faced by women in sports, "I faced a different issue. Some of my friends' parents used to ask their children not to play with me because I used to play with boys. My parents always encouraged me to play, but the parents of some of the girls I knew had a problem with me."
The sports fans in the panel also discussed the lack of washrooms for women in stadiums. Speaking about the issue, Vipranshi Bhatia, a law student said, "My father used to play a lot of sports such as hockey, football, handball and so on. And whenever I went to watch him play, I faced the issue of no washrooms for women. A basic thing like a washroom should be available everywhere. Eventually, I stopped going to my father's matches."
This International Women's Day, the Delhi Capitals aimed to shed light on several pressing issues, which are prevalent and a common experience for many, but rarely ever addressed head-on.
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