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‘We don’t have the system that encourages women to take up sports’: Sania Mirza

Tennis player Sania Mirza shares a message for all women to fight for themselves.

In this speech of hers, after giving a brief introduction of her interest as a child — that she followed her dream of becoming a tennis player — she says, “I wanted to be the best first in our state, then our country and then obviously in the world. I have been fortunate enough to be able to achieve all those goals in my life”.

She talks about her experience of how as a girl she had to suffer for her dreams, saying, “For a girl to say, ‘One day I want to play Wimbledon’, were made fun of, we were ridiculed.”

She continues, “A woman does not have to be in the kitchen only and cook and have kids, a woman can be a professional sportsperson and playing tennis or playing cricket or playing any other sports; [it] doesn’t have to be recreational for women and that’s the attitude we need to change as a nation.”

She goes on to call out the system that never supports women: “We don’t have the system that encourages women to take up sport and that’s the system and attitude we need to change as a nation.”

“Whether it’s media, whether it’s people, whether it’s us women, we need to believe firstly, we need to understand that as much as we talk about equality, we do live in a man’s world and we have to fight for it. I think as women, we need to learn to stand up for ourselves and stand up to fight and only then others will respect us,” she says.

She concludes by saying, “We need to not suppress women when they come out to speak. When women in this part of the world speak up for themselves, they are slated to be rebels, they are slated to be people who don’t value relationships and families.”

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According to her, this attitude needs to change for women to move forward.

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