Sania Mirza is an accomplished tennis star, the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia and an inspiration for girls across the country. However, she has been on the receiving end of online trolling after Pakistan lost a World Cup match against India.
Speaking at the India Economic Summit recently, she slammed the tendency of people to blame wives/partners of cricketers when the team performs poorly by saying, “Anushka Sharma is blamed if Virat makes a zero, like what does that have anything to do with anything. It makes no sense.”
News18 quoted her adding, “Many a time, including our cricket team and in many teams, I have seen that wives or girlfriends are not allowed on tour because the boys will be distracted. What does that mean? What is it that the women are doing that is going to distract the men so much?”
She countered these arguments by saying that partners are a strength because “They (the players) don’t come back to an empty room, they can go out and have dinner … when you have your wife or your partner there it gives you support, it gives you love.”
Talking about the root cause Sania said,
“See the thing is, that comes from a deeper problem which says that a woman is a distraction she cannot be a strength. If we address the problem that a woman can be a strength or is a strength rather than a distraction or a weakness we might conquer these issues.”
Sania also weighed in on gender inequality in sports and how young girls in India are discouraged from sports because their skin might get tanned.
The Times of India quoted her saying,
“I was eight and everybody thought nobody is going to marry me because I would become dark and at eight I was like I think I’ll be fine.”
“Once women start believing in themselves that they are equal and they deserve to be treated equally and given equal opportunity …if women get the right kind of backing and opportunity like everybody else they can conquer the world.”
DNA India quoted her saying, “For example, we are at the world stage and we get equal prize money at grand slams but we still need to justify why we get equal prize money. That is inequality, the fact that as women we constantly need to give an explanation as to why are we equal and why is that like that is not fair.”
Trolls, are you listening?