Promoting positive gender relations with mixed gender netball tournaments in India
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Pro Sport Development kick-started 2020 by organising the third edition of the Mixed Gender Netball Tournament in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, to highlight the positive impact created by mixed gender sport.

The past two editions of the Mixed Gender Netball Tournament, organised by Pro Sport Development (PSD) in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, were a huge success. Each edition of the tournament saw hundreds of students from the Community Sports Program (CSP) in Bhubaneswar participate in the tournament. The CSP uses sport and physical activity as a unique tool to teach school children effective ways of communication, leadership, teamwork as well as mutual respect towards teammates, opponents, and members of the opposite gender. Hence, mixed-gender games form a crucial part of the CSP and this approach has been adopted in all the sports tournaments organised by PSD in Bhubaneswar over the past five years.

The third edition of the Mixed Gender Netball Tournament was held on 18 January 2020 at Saraswati Shishu Vidya Mandir school in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. A total of 120 children (50% girls) from six schools part of the CSP participated in the tournament. There were twelve teams divided into four groups. Each group consisted of three teams with 10 members per team (five girls and five boys). However, the playing seven had to have four girls and three boys. The group stages were followed by the knockouts consisting of the quarter finals, semi finals and the final.

Eventually, teams from Beena Bharati Vidya Mandir (Bharatpur) and Vivekanand Shiksha Kendra (Dumduma) played in the finals, where the Vivekananda Shiksha Kendra team emerged as the winner of the third edition of Mixed Gender Netball Tournament. The players showed phenomenal fellowship and fair play among the rival teams. Moreover, the girls and boys from the various teams gelled well together during the tournament, defying socially prevalent gender norms.

Interestingly, one of the unique features of the tournament was the ‘Street Play’ performed by the participants of the Kadam Badhate Chalo (KBC) programme to understand how gender norms influence their daily lives and how to question gender-based stereotypes. PSD has been delivering the KBC program in 4 schools in Bhubaneswar this past year in collaboration with the Martha Farrell Foundation (MFF).

It was overwhelming to see the enthusiasm with which the children awaited the third edition of the netball tournament. Supriya Rout Rai, who won the ‘Best player (female)’ award, said “I love to play netball and have been waiting for this tournament to happen. I want to build my career in netball and represent India at the national level. I am thankful to Pro Sport Development for giving me the chance to show my real talent. Mixed gender games have helped me inculcate team spirit and mutual respect.”

Over the last two years, a great improvement in the strategies used by the students has been noticed, especially while playing netball. “I was moved by the response and support I got from my teammates as the captain. We planned our winning strategy together which led us to pass the ball to each other easily and win the tournament”, said Shamim, captain of Vivekanand Shiksha Kendra team.

The mixed gender netball tournament boosted the self-esteem and self-confidence of the participating students. Boys and girls were seen interacting on and off the court with great ease and conviction. The tournament captured the essence of the CSP accurately, incorporating the aims of the programme. Community-based mixed gender tournaments can become important vehicles to deconstruct the myths of prevalent gender-based stereotypes.

This article was submitted by Pro Sport Development. Visit their website for more information. 


Target Group
Girls and women

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