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International Women’s Day: Female volleyball team play for women’s rights

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By Akhtar M. Nikzad:KABUL: Afghanistan has joined the rest of the international community in observing the International Women’s Day on Sunday.

The 104th International Women’s Day was celebrated with different events in major cities of the country where women came together and discussed different problems hampering their efforts to improve lifestyle and put end to the ongoing bout of violence against girls and women.

However, the Afghan National Volleyball Federation (ANVF) commemorated the day by holding women volleyball matches in the Olympic Committee’s gymnasium. The watches were witnessed by hundreds of sportswomen and spectators to support women’s rights.

Representative of the General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports, Arif Payman, said that five women’s volleyball teams from Kabul province took part in the event to honor achievements of women.

He said that role of women in sports remained prominent in the past 13 years and brought several medals which doubled interest of girls in sports.

Nasima, member of a female volleyball team who also played for women’s rights, said that hundreds of thousands girls are unaware about their civil rights and failed to challenge the social taboos that restricted them to boundary walls of home.

She termed the International Women’s Day a significant global measure for restoration of women’s rights in countries such as Afghanistan.

“The International Women’s Day is providing opportunity to women to protect their rights and show unity. Hence, we are here on this day to celebrate the Afghan women correlation and unity through sports,” she said.

She asked the government to appreciate women for their achievements they made in their international arenas. She said that sportswomen should be treated equally because when sportsmen brought trophies they were appreciated differently.

Khatera Karimi, a female volleyball player, criticized the government and international community for failure to safeguard Afghan women’s rights.

She said that every year the International Women’s Day is commemorated in a symbolic way by different governmental and nongovernmental organizations but there is no end in sight to the plight of womenfolk.

“Many so-called women’s rights groups celebrate the day while spending lavishly on seminars and conferences where they chant catchy slogans. However, majority of girls who challenged the obsolete social norms are still in the whirlpool of problems. The women’s day is marked by those women who are living in bungalows,” she said.

When asked about problems faced by women she said that lack of financial support for sportswomen, absence of sport facilities particularly transportation and salary are the major problems.  Karimi added that despite getting degrees many girls are jobless. Afghan girls want to test their mettle in the sports but lack of facilities and female trainers had disappointed them.

For sportswomen absence of transportation facilities, female coaches, playgrounds and inattention of the government are common but key problems that impede their growth.

In other countries, authorities pay considerable heed to resolve the problems faced by female athletes. However, situation in Afghanistan is quite different. Currently, 52 sports federations and committees are active and operating under the framework of General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports of Afghanistan but woos of sportswomen go unnoticed.