There is often debate around the role of an athlete and whether they should speak on issues that concerns them. This session demonstrates the impact of what happens when an athlete uses their position and their voice to shape society for the better. In today's sessions you will first hear from hear from Hajra Khan (Pakistan National Women’s Football Team Captain) and Asma El-Badawi (Basketballer and spoken word poet). The second session you will hear from our keynote speaker, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir about her story and role as an athlete activist.
Hajra Khan, a Pakistani footballer, who is the captain of the Pakistan women’s national football team. She plays as a striker or midfielder. She became part of Pakistan national team in 2009 which she leads as Captain since 2014. UNICEF ambassador and champion of the campaign: Menstrual Hygiene Awareness campaign. She also advocates for improving access to quality mental health care.
Asma Elbadawi is a basketball player, coach and poet, who is empowering females through sport and the arts. Asma successfully lobbied the international basketball association FIBA to remove a ban on hijabs and religious headwear in the professional sport.
Athlete activist Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir was presented with the Leadership in Sport Award at the 2017 Beyond Sport Global Awards in New York City, and subsequently spoke on panels at Beyond Sport United and Beyond Sport Mexico. Bilqis is the first Muslim woman to play covered in collegiate basketball, however, she was unable to go pro due to a FIBA ruling preventing those wearing the hijab to play. She advocated against the ruling, providing a voice for all those facing inequalities and stood up for what she believed was the right thing to do, successfully overturning the ruling last year. Bilqis started an online campaign called “Muslim Girls Hoop Too” to raise awareness for Muslim women in sports with an emphasis on female basketball players.
The first panel will discuss innovation in modest sportswear, overcoming barriers set by sport institutions and how businesswomen and athletes designed, helped design and benefited from this new wave of hijab designs. This session includes ambassador, pioneer and designer of one of the first sports hijab and the inventor of the ‘Burqini’, Aheda Zanetti; and English International Rounders athlete, Dana Abdulkarim sharing their stories and strategies on how their business and innovation has paved the way for other women around the world. The second panel session you will hear from Yasmeen Shabsough (Jordan), Haneen Khateeb (Jordan), Fatuma Abdul Kadir (Kenya) and Hajar Abulfazl (Afganistan) founders, world record breakers and pioneers in the Sport for Development scene and how these incredible women are using sport to champion gender equality, education and peace in their communities.
In 2003, Aheda Zanetti, founder of Ahiida Pty Ltd (AHIIDA) and designer of the BURQINI ™ / BURKINI ™ brand swimwear, was inspired by watching her niece playing netball in a traditional Hijab/Veil to begin a search for sporting garments suitable for Muslim women. Unable to find anything which matched the demands for comfort and flexibility with the requirements for modesty, she designed and produced the first examples of AHIIDA’s now famous clothing lines BURQINI ™ / BURKINI ™ swimwear and HIJOOD ™ sportswear. The BURQINI ™ / BURKINI ™ brand name was invented and developed by designer Aheda Zanetti as part of the early marketing of her product – swimwear which is “two piece like a bikini” and smaller than a burka.
Physical Education Teacher/Former England rounders player and coach, United Kingdom. Dana was the first ever Muslim woman to compete for England internationally as part of the England Rounders team. She was formerly the U18 Team coach and is now a PE Teacher, motivational speaker and Trustee at the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation.
Haneen Khatib is a journalism and media graduate who has been a football player since she was 11 years old. Haneen is the co-organiser of the Jordan Quest and a Guinness world record holder. She’s represented her country at the U17 level at the World Championship in 2010 in Sri Lanka. She co-organized the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan and is the Sports for Development officer at Madrasati “My School” initiative. A young person making positive change through sports, and promoting female athletes and different kind of sports and its unlimited benefits through media.
Yasmeen Shabsough, a Guinness world record holder, co-organiser of the Equal Playing Field Initiative’s Jordan Quest, a Sports for Development educator with GIZ. Yasmeen has led her team to win the national title in Jordan with Amman Club four times. She started at the age of 12 and since then has played for the Jordanian national women’s team. Yasmeen was also part of the organizing committee for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup 2016.
Recipient of the Stuttgart Peace Prize, Women’s Rights Activities and Peace Ambassador, Founder of Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI) and Streetfootballworld network board member
Dr. Hajar Abulfazl is an advocate for women’s empowerment through health and sport. She is a medical doctor, former captain of the Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team, a youth delegate to the United Nations, athlete advisor for Equality League, and founder of Tawana youth development group in Kabul. Hajar co-founded Tawana Youth Development Organization (TYDO), which organizes school visits and sports festivals to promote sports among girls in Afghanistan.
This diverse panel of women will talk about their innovations in sport and how they are using their positions to pave the way for future leaders in sport, how they leverage the media, their influence to tackle racism and discrimination, and use a business and research approach to address social issues and affect policy change. The first session you will hear from Amna Karra-Hassan (Australia), Hanna Fauzie (Indonesia), and Lina Khaled Almaeena (Saudi Arabia). The last session of the day will be with Shaheen Bi (United Kingdom).
Amna Karra-Hassan is an activist and advocate for diversity, inclusion and gender parity. Amna works for the Australian Federal Police in the Reform, Culture and Standards portfolio responsible for engaging the workforce in cultural change. She is the President of the Auburn Giants Australian Football Club and has pioneered programs for women of minority communities in Western Sydney. Amna uses her influence to change the conversation on gender, culture, faith and representation.
Lina K. Almaeena is a Saudi writer, member of the Young Saudi Business Committee and Sports Investment Committee in the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, and the Kingdom Young Business Women Council. She is listed as one of the 200 Most Powerful Women in the Middle East by Forbes Magazine 2014. When Al Maeena founded Jeddah United (JU), Saudi Arabia’s first private female basketball club, in 2003, the government did not license female gyms or clubs, and only a few elite private schools offered sports for girls. The team’s players faced backlash from disapproving family members to texted threats and harassment by the religious police, Saudi Arabia’s official enforcers of strict social mores. But today, after a long campaign to change attitudes toward women’s athletics, the Saudi government has written them into Vision 2030, its new economic development plan to improve infrastructure, encourage community sports and support elite competitors.
Hanna Fauzie is an Indonesian journalist, sports commentary, and a community campaigner to show that women have a place in the media industry. She’s based in Jakarta. As a journalist, she covered most of the sports event such as the World Cups, Euro Cups, SEA Games, and Olympics. To date, she has visited many universities and conducted workshops and discussions speaking to students and young women on how to overcome challenges/obstacles of being a female sports journalist in a male-dominated profession. In 2017, she received a grant from Department of State for Empowering Women through Journalism Project.
Shaheen graduated from Sunderland University in 2000 with a Business Studies Degree, and began her career in the housing sector working for the National Housing Federation and the Birmingham Social Housing Partnership supporting housing policy in the midlands region. Shaheen joined Sporting Equals in June 2008 and now heads up the research and project function working at both a strategic level to help influence policy and practice and at a local level supporting the regional infrastructure delivery arm. She has supported governing bodies to review approaches to BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) engagement and has been instrumental in driving policy level change to help create positive action initiatives to address underrepresentation particularly around BAME women and girls. Shaheen has presented at a number of key events including health and wellbeing for older people, inclusive policy and practice forums, Public Health England expert panel roundtable and was a key speaker at the GOALS (Gathering of All Leaders in Sport) Forum in Doha during 2013 and 2014. She has created wider collaborations with a range of partner agencies including Age UK, Sports Governing Bodies & Equality and Human Rights Commission. Shaheen is also Special Advisor to the Muslim Sports Council and has worked on a number of consortium projects with Academic Institutions.