Tuesday December 10, 2019
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From Sania to Saina: Rise of Indian women in sports

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By Ila Garg

Since ancient times, sports has been an integral part of Indian history. We have some legendary sportsmen like Milkha Singh, Kapil Dev, Dhyanchand, etc. ruling the charts. Today, women are also becoming the face of Indian sports. Women sportspersons these days are taking Indian sports to a new height. Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal have gradually emerged as popular youth icons and are creating ripples in the stagnant ocean! NewsGram takes a look at their journey:

Sania MirzaSania Mirza took India tennis to the global level. In the days when the patriarchal society of India was reveling in the notion that women cannot excel in sports, a determined Mirza changed the course of Tennis. Born on 15th November 1986, she started playing tennis at an early age of six. She found her first coach in her father Imran who diligently took her talent forward and carved it well so that she could be an inspiration for others like her.

She started taking part in international tournaments from the year 1999 and soon became a pro at the game. Her strength became evident from her very first game. In 2003, she managed to enter the list of world’s top 100 tennis players. She is the youngest Indian player to win the Grand Slam title too, thus creating a stir amongst the masses.

The ace player Sania is currently ranked world number one in the women’s doubles (she retired from singles recently). Now, she is all set to receive Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest Indian honour in the field of sports. It is indeed a big achievement for the star tennis player as she is the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be recommended for this award. NewsGram congratulates her for being an inspiration to many people around the world and opening new doors for the tennis aspirants.

Saina Nehwal has proved her mettle as a promising Indian female Badminton player and continues to reach heights. Like Sania Mirza aroused the interest of the youths to pursue the game of tennis, she is opening a whole new arena for them to follow.Saina Nehwal

She was born on 17th March 1990 with the game instilled in her genes as both her parents, Dr. Harvir Singh and Usha Rani were former State Badminton Champions. Her training started at the age of eight and since then the badminton racket has been her companion. In the year 2003, she made her presence felt when she won the Junior Czech Open Tournament.

Subsequently in 2004, she became the National Junior Champion and in 2005, she won the title again. This shows her dedication towards the game. In 2006, she won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth games thus creating a benchmark for herself. From small steps, she soon took leaps as she won the Superseries Title in 2009.

She has been decorated with awards like Arjuna Award (2009), Padma Shri Award (2010) and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2010). Her zeal has motivated many others to follow her path.

Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal

From Sania Mania to Saina Style, Indian women have been rising in the field of sports and overcoming all hurdles. NewsGram feels that more and more women should come forward and take sports as career. Only required tools are diligence, hard work, and passion.

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No More Segregation on the Basis of Gender in Restaurants in Saudi Arabia

Saudi restaurants no longer need to segregate women and men

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Saudi Arabia
Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, are currently segregated by “family” sections allocated for women. Lifetime Stock

Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to use separate entrances from men or sit behind partitions at restaurants in the latest measure announced by the government that upends a major hallmark of conservative restrictions that had been in place for decades.

The decision, which essentially erodes one of the most visible gender segregation restrictions in place, was quietly announced Sunday in a lengthy and technically worded statement by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry.

While some restaurants and cafes in the coastal city of Jiddah and Riyadh’s upscale hotels had already been allowing unrelated men and women to sit freely, the move codifies what has been a sensitive issue in the past among traditional Saudis who view gender segregation as a religious requirement. Despite that, neighboring Muslim countries do not have similar rules.

Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, are currently segregated by “family” sections allocated for women who are out on their own or who are accompanied by male relatives, and “singles” sections for just men. Many also have separate entrances for women and partitions or rooms for families where women are not visible to single men. In smaller restaurants or cafes with no space for segregation, women are not allowed in.

Reflecting the sensitive nature of this most recent move, the decision to end requirements of segregation in restaurants was announced in a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The statement listed a number of newly-approved technical requirements for buildings, schools, stores and sports centers, among others.

Saudi Sex Segregation
A woman leaves a ladies only service area at a restaurant in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. VOA

The statement noted that the long list of published decisions was aimed at attracting investments and creating greater business opportunities.

Among the regulations announced was “removing a requirement by restaurants to have an entrance for single men and (another) for families.”

Couched between a new regulation about the length of a building’s facade and allowing kitchens on upper floors to operate was another critical announcement stating that restaurants no longer need to “specify private spaces”— an apparent reference to partitions.

Across Saudi Arabia, the norm has been that unrelated men and women are not permitted to mix in public. Government-run schools and most public universities remain segregated, as are most Saudi weddings.

In recent years, however, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for sweeping social reforms, with women and men now able to attend concerts and movie theaters that were once banned. He also curtailed the powers of the country’s religious police, who had been enforcers of conservative social norms, like gender segregation in public.

Two years ago, women for the first time were allowed to attend sports events in stadiums in the so-called “family” sections. Young girls in recent years have also been allowed access to physical education and sports in school, a right that only boys had been afforded.

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In August, the kingdom lifted a controversial ban on travel by allowing all citizens — women and men alike — to apply for a passport and travel freely, ending a long-standing guardianship policy that had controlled women’s freedom of movement.

The new rules remove restrictions that had been in place, but do not state that restaurants or cafes have to end segregated entrances or seated areas. Many families in conservative swaths of the country, where women cover their hair and face in public, may prefer eating only at restaurants with segregated spaces. (VOA)