Watch this March 29, 2017, global webchat about how girls and women around the world can find strength through sports. Featured panelists included extraordinary female athletes from India, Tajikistan and Pakistan. See below for their biographies and find out how they got involved in sports, how sports helped them achieve their goals, and why they think girls can benefit from getting on the hockey pitch or climbing a mountain!
Nungshi and Tashi Malik — the mountaineers
Commonly known as the “Everest Twins,” Nungshi and Tashi are already world-famous mountaineers in their mid-20s. They are the world’s first siblings and twins, as well as the youngest persons and the first South Asians, to complete the “Adventurers Grand Slam” (scaling the highest peaks of each continent and skiing to the North and South Poles).
Their passion for climbing is only matched by their passion for empowering girls and women in India and the world. They founded the NungshiTashi Foundation to help girls gain leadership skills, employment and, ultimately, empowerment through outdoor activities.
Aziza Kayumova — the dancer
Aziza is president of the Standard DanceSport Federation in Tajikistan, an independent, national organization that promotes the sport of dancing. The federation also promotes particular dance types in Tajikistan, including using dance as a means of physical education.
Aziza has worked with former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama to plan a National Gymnastics Day that was part of Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. Aziza also co-founded the first modeling studio in Tajikistan with her sister.
Fatima Saleem — the sports journalist
Fatima is one of the first female sports anchors and reporters in Pakistan and has channeled her passion for sports and sports reporting into Go Girl Pakistan, an organization that empowers Pakistani girls by engaging them in sports. Go Girl Pakistan provides girls with a safe place to play soccer and other sports via no-cost clinics run by professional women coaches.
Rabia Qadir — the field hockey player
Rabia played for Pakistan’s national women’s field hockey team in 2003 and coached the country’s under-18 women’s team. In 2012, she was named Best Female Player by the Pakistan Hockey Federation. She continues to play competitively for both the national team and WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority).
Rabia balances her field hockey commitments with her job as a sports anchor for multiple news stations. She also founded Galaxy Sports Academy in 2011, where she and two other female coaches train 25 girls from Lahore in field hockey, soccer and other athletics.
This year is the 45th anniversary of a law called Title IX. This federal law says that no person in the United States shall be discriminated against or excluded from any educational program — including sports activities — that receives federal funding. In the realm of sports, this means that women attending a school must be provided the same opportunities to participate in sports as men. The U.S. Department of State supports the equal opportunity to play, not just for American women, but for women all over the world.