As part of the International Day to End Violence Against Women, Sania Mirza, the Indian tennis star, has been appointed by UN Women as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the South Asian region.
Mirza is both known and loved and will be an excellent goodwill ambassador. The tennis player was the first Indian player to have broken into the top 50 in the World Tennis Association ranks. In India, she is the top female tennis player of all time.
Sania Mirza spoke about what it has been like to follow her sports career in India. She explained that the “gender inequality” in the country has made things difficult at times, and she noted that cultural changes need to take place.
Mirza commented: “Yes, it is difficult to be Sania Mirza in this country. I think a lot of controversies that I had faced in my career was because I am a woman. Had I been a man, I could have avoided some of the controversies.”
Mirza did note that the Sarbananda Sonowal, the Sports Minister at this time, does support women’s sports, which certainly shows that there are changes that are beginning to take place. She explained that the media can play a big role in how women in sports are looked at, and should take responsibility to do what they can to further the role of women in sport.
“My role is a very important battle that I will fight off the tennis court for gender equality,” said the tennis star. “Gender equality is what I believe in.”
Gender equality would affect all facets of life in India from the way women are treated to equal pay for men and women who are doing the same jobs. Mirza continued to explain who women should be given the same opportunities as men in both the sporting world and the non-sporting world. Mirza feels that using sports as one of the ways to advocate for gender equality will further both the role of women in India in a general way, and would further the role of women in sports.