It should not be surprising how prevalent sexism is in our society but it is still disappointing when sportsmen pass sexist comments about their women colleagues. Recently, former cricketer and all-rounder 0 made some unwarranted and extremely sexist remarks about women cricketers in the presence of Pakistan’s ace cricketer Nida Dar.
First, Razzaq said that women cricketers don’t get married. Then he added: “She [Dar] aspires to come to the level of the men’s cricket team and believes that men aren’t the only ones who can do everything, women can do these things as well. That’s why the feeling is gone. Shake her hands and you won’t even feel she’s a girl.” Nida Dar remained cool and composed despite such misogynist comments.
To comment on a female athlete’s appearance is sexist. Period. It is unfortunate that our male cricketers think they can comment on their women colleagues’ appearance and say they are not feminine because they believe they are equal to men. If women demand equality, why does it irk our men? Women cricketers are as hardworking as our male cricketers. They are still not treated at par with their male counterparts. They also face sexism from society when we see comments about their appearance and bodies, which is quite prevalent. Instead of doing the same, Abdul Razzaq should have been more encouraging of women cricketers. He should have commended them for their courage and hard work despite facing so many challenges to reach the national cricket team.
This is not the first time we have seen such comments about women. It is no secret that we don’t treat women the same way as men, we don’t think of them as heroes, we don’t think they are at par with men. Recently, we saw how an issue was made by the Punjab Curriculum & Textbook Board for printing Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s picture alongside other important personalities. A campaign was started not to include Malala in the same list as that of other heroes. This is our unfortunate reality.
Let’s pay heed to the words of our founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: “ No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.”
Pakistan cannot move forward without empowering women and breaking the chains of patriarchy.