Sport can inspire girls
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a young girl plays with bowling skittles
In many cultures in the world, girls are prohibited from participating in sport. But it is integral that they have role models that they can look up to, to know that they too can play sport.

Sport can play an integral role in addressing gender discrimination and other societal inequities. The universal language that it imbues allows for barriers to be broken with the kick of a ball or the swing of a bat. The medium creates an equal footing for all while allowing us to put our guards down, leaving space for important conversations to be initiated. In this piece, two youth leaders, Saraswati Saud of Nepal and Alba Alexandra Patzi Sunagua of Bolivia, discuss this important topic with some impactful words.

Saraswati Saud | Nepal

I think every individual has the desire and interest to play and be engaged in sports. However, many parents may not want their children to be involved, and as a result they are restricted from taking part in sport.

In developing countries, youth face different kinds of problems, by which they are distracted in negative ways. These problems can cause them to get involved in violence, crime, other illegal activities and become addicted to drugs. It just destroys them. This never leads individuals, societies, countries and the world toward a positive future. 

I think sport has the power to overcome the kinds of problems facing the youth of the developing countries. Sport has the ability to have an impact in people's lives by inspiring, encouraging, and motivating them. It has the power to change everything. When we get involved in sport activities, it helps us to forget our pain and problems. We feel like a bird, free to fly in the sky without any barriers. This is sport's power. Sport can create such a great environment that can help individuals to meet each other and be together in one beautiful garden.

In sport, there is no gender. Everyone has a right to participate in sport, but in some cultures, not all are allowed to be involved in sport because of their gender. Girls in developing countries are facing this problem the most. They are not allowed to play. This should be avoided. All the genders have a right to play. Sport has the power to change the thoughts of society towards gender. It can change people's lives and empower them to face their problems head on.

Engagement of youth in sport is of utmost importance for development. Without youth engagement, sport can't take place. To solve the problems we face, we must inspire others that the engagement of youth in sport is very important. Sport has the power to change the world.

Alba Alexandra Patzi Sunagua | Bolivia

Sport already has a massive audience, just with the general aspect that men play it. Frankly, it is not if it still stimulates us to see a team play, it is that we have seen the same thing over and over again, that now seeing women or people of color or with some difference in a world where we are all different is much better than what it was before.

The inequalities of society will always be there, but if we live in a world where the differences and struggles that these people in particular go through, from childhood we can grow up believing that despite these hardships, I can achieve it.

When we see all kinds of people, we always instinctively question whether a man or a boy is with the general models of being strong or capable, etc. What we have seen since we were children, if this were done with a woman and it is being done, a girl could see a woman on television playing soccer or some sport and from that moment she would understand that this is completely normal, that maybe one day I can do the same as her without thinking at any moment if she has to be a housewife or have children, since there are many women who are much more than that.

And this is not only being done with women, but with ALL people who feel different since childhood, and who today can see a role model anywhere.

Your gender does not define what you will do in this world.


Saraswati Saud from Nepal works toward making changes in society, especially in the field of women's empowerment. She serves as a Coach Mentor with WE United Nepal, coaching soccer to young girls and training the next generation of female youth coaches in her community. Saraswati believes in action and inspiration. In 2019, Saraswati took part in the Sports Visitor Program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Diplomacy Division and administered by FHI 360 (www.sportsvisitor.org)

In 2020, Alba Alexandra Patzi Sunagua from Bolivia participated in a virtual Sports Visitor Program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Diplomacy Division and administered by FHI 360 (www.sportsvisitor.org).


Latin America and the Caribbean
All sports
Sustainable Development Goals
5 - Gender equality
Target Group
Girls and women

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