London university introduces sports hijab to encourage more Muslim women to participate
A university in London has introduced a sports hijab in a bid to encourage more Muslim women to play sport.
Brunel University launched the hijab this week to attract more young Muslim women to participate in sporting activities as part of teams and competitions.
The initiative hopes to make sport more inclusive for all women across the UK.
Brunel is the first university in the country to make a sports hijab available for its Muslim sportswomen.
Student union president Ranjeet Rathore said:
"Muslim women were of course participating in sports on their own and in private, but they weren't really going out to competitions, or using sport as a social tool to get involved in activities.
"There are now other universities that want to partner with us, who want to take samples off us, who want to do their own hijab - which is great news."
A 2017 study found that just 18 percent of Muslim women in the UK participate in sports regularly.
30 percent of the country's female population is Muslim.
Brunel student and gym goer Faith Al Saad called the hijab a "life saver" and said that she is "one hundred percent confident" it will encourage more Muslim women to participate in sports outside of the home.
“It’s great. Really lightweight, really easy to wear, really comfortable – it feels like you’re wearing nothing on your head, which is amazing, especially when doing sports,” she said.
“The traditional hijab is basically a cloth you wrap around your head and then pin down. You can’t really run in it, it’ll literally fly off. The pins come out and it falls off – it’s not comfortable.
“Especially in sports, you run, you sweat, you fall – the traditional hijab gets in the way. Wearing the sports hijab makes it ten-times easier, and I genuinely think it’s a lifesaver.”
Brunel hopes that other universities will follow their lead and introduce a sports hijab for their female Muslim students.
20x20 is an ambitious two-year long initiative to better promote and champion women in sport.
With the tagline of "if she can't see it, she can't be it," the 20x20 movement has three targets to reach by 2020:
- 20 percent more media coverage of women in sport
- 20 percent more female participation
- 20 percent more attendance at women’s competitions and events
And at Maximum Media, we're proud that Her and SportsJOE is backing the 20x20 movement as official digital media partners.