‘Encouraging girls to play sports is an important step towards tackling issues like gender inequality and child marriage’
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) and the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) have called for girls aged 12-16 to participate in a nationwide talent search to realize their dreams of playing football.
The girls’ football talent search is a partnership between the Unicef and the BFF and their aim is to strengthen girls’ participation in sports, said a press release issued on Thursday.
“Encouraging girls to play sports is an important step towards challenging gender norms and tackling issues such as gender inequality and child marriage, which greatly harm children and societies,” it added.
School closures and Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have severely limited children’s opportunities for exercising and having fun with their friends over the past year, taking a heavy toll on both their physical and mental health. The football talent search aims to address the situation by motivating children to become actively involved in sports.
Unicef Representative in Bangladesh Tomoo Hozumi said: “Sport has an incredible way of bringing people together. It can completely transform people’s perceptions of girls’ potential and the role they can play in society.”
“Sport has something to offer to girls and boys equally. Aside from the physical and mental health benefits, playing sports builds self-esteem, confidence and a sense of self-determination,” he added.
Meanwhile, BFF President Kazi Md Salahuddin said: “We are extremely proud of this program. We know that many girls, particularly those living in remote and hard-to-reach areas, have traditionally been cut off from sports.
“We hope this initiative can inspire parents and communities to promote girls’ participation in sports. The benefits are enormous and go far beyond the playing field.”