Female Stereotypes in Bangladesh Sports: Breaking the Barrier
Sports are an integral part of Bangladesh’s culture and heritage, both indigenous and mainstream. The country has had its fair share of achievements across a number of sports at both domestic and international levels, especially cricket, its most popular sport. However, while men mostly thrive in these sports, the same can’t be said about Bangladesh women. At least, not yet.
Women’s participation in sports has been a topic of discussion worldwide for decades. In Bangladesh, where cultural and societal norms often limit women’s opportunities, breaking stereotypes and challenging gender roles is essential. Women in sports in Bangladesh have faced numerous obstacles, from cultural barriers to a lack of facilities and funding.
The blog post will explore the historical and cultural context of women in sports in Bangladesh, the challenges they face, the women breaking stereotypes, and the importance of women’s participation in sports. It will also discuss the present state of women’s sports in the country and suggest how positive changes can be implemented. Let’s dive right in!
Historical, Cultural, and Societal Stereotypes
Bangladesh has a rich cultural heritage, but unfortunately, it has also been a patriarchal society for centuries. This has resulted in significant gender disparities in every aspect of life, including sports. Women in Bangladesh face numerous obstacles when it comes to participating in sports. For instance, they are expected to prioritize household chores and family responsibilities above everything else.
Certain societal norms also deem sports inappropriate for women, often leading to discrimination and harassment. Despite these challenges, women athletes in Bangladesh have been breaking stereotypes and achieving greatness in their respective fields.
Other Challenges Faced by Women Sports
Apart from stereotypes, there are several other problems faced by women in sports in Bangladesh, limiting participation and opportunities for success. For starters, There is a shortage of facilities and resources for women’s sports in Bangladesh. Many sports clubs and facilities are still designed primarily for men, making it difficult for women to access them. Furthermore, there is a lack of funding and resources for women’s sports programs, which makes it harder for female athletes to receive proper training and support.
This lack of funding also reflects in the salaries of women athletes, which are lower than their male counterparts by an inconceivably high gap. Some may rightly argue that men’s sports have a considerably higher viewership and audience than women’s, hence the vast difference in pay.
However, it is also essential to note that women’s sports receive shallow media attention. While upcoming events in men’s sports are constantly promoted via online ads, TV commercials, billboards, banners, and flyers, women’s sports rarely get promoted. This makes it difficult for female events to gain recognition and limits the potential for sponsorship and other financial opportunities.
Breaking the Barriers
Despite the challenges women’s sports face in Bangladesh, there have been several significant achievements in the sector, both jointly and as individual female athletes. Let’s examine some of them below:
Thanks to its notable achievements on various international levels, Bangladesh is regarded as one of the top cricketing nations. Men’s cricket also attracts massive action in the country, with tons of bettors putting their money on cricket live bet and pre-match wagers. However, this success is not only limited to “Tigers” as recently, the Bangladesh female cricket team is also making significant strides.
One of the most notable achievements of the Bangladesh female cricket team is winning their first-ever Asia Cup title in 2018, defeating 6-times winner India in the final. Also, the team reached the knockout stage in the 2020 edition of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup for the first time.
The Bangladesh Women’s Football Team won their first SAFF Women Championship in September 2022, beating hosts Nepal 3-1. This victory received praise and recognition in the country and was a significant achievement for women’s sports in Bangladesh. The team also won the SAFF U-18 in October, another outstanding achievement.
Below are some Bangladesh female athletes who are exceptional in their fields:
- Sharmin Akhter: a weightlifter who won a bronze medal in the 63 kg category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Australia.
- Mahfuza Khatun Shila: a swimmer who has won multiple medals at the South Asian Games.
- Sabina Khatun: a football player who has represented Bangladesh in international competitions, including the South Asian Games and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
- Chhunu Miah: a boxer who has won several national championships in Bangladesh. She has also represented Bangladesh in international competitions, including the South Asian Games and the Asian Women’s Boxing Championships.
- Sharmin Akter Ratna: an archer who won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games
Solutions to Women Stereotypes in Sports in Bangladesh
One solution to address women’s stereotypes in sports in Bangladesh is to increase awareness about the benefits of female participation in sports. This can be achieved by promoting female sports events and positive role models, such as successful female athletes. Another solution is to provide more opportunities and training for girls and women to participate in sports at the grassroots, such as in schools and local communities.
Furthermore, it is crucial to address the systemic issues that prevent women from reaching their full potential in sports, such as lack of funding and resources and limited opportunities for competition and training. This can be achieved through policy changes, increased investment in women’s sports, and advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns.
In recent years, women in sports in Bangladesh have made significant progress in breaking stereotypes and achieving success in various sports. However, there is still a long way to go in creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for women in sports.
The government needs to stand up to its responsibility of providing the required facilities, promotions, training, and awareness to ensure every girl and woman has the opportunity to participate in sports and reach their full potential. With continued investment, education, and support, the future looks bright for women’s sports in Bangladesh.