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Dear Shahid Afridi, Misogyny Has No Place In The 21st Century

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Pakistani cricketing legend Shahid Afridi’s autobiography Game Changer has been in headlines ever since its release. In the book, Afridi criticizes former cricketers Javed Miandad and Waqar Younis for politicizing the game. He also calls Miandad ‘’ a small man”.

However, cricket controversies aside one of Afridi’s statement about his personal life has revealed a side of the former captain that has disappointed many of his fans, particularly women fans.

In the book, Afridi states that he will not allow his four daugthers, Ajwa, Ansha, Asmara and Aqsa, to play outdoor sports. “Ajwa and Asmara are the youngest and love to play dress-up. They have my permission to play any sport, as long as they’re indoors. Cricket? No, not for my girls. They have permission to play all the indoor games they want, but my daughters are not going to be competing in public sporting activities.”

This statement from one of the country’s heroes and a sportsman is extremely disappointing. As a figure who has considerable impact what kind of message is Afridi trying to send.

Pakistan already lags behind several countries where female empowerment is concerned. The society we live in is deeply patriarchal and messages like these will only continue to encourage the attitude that ‘women belong at home’. Not to mention discourage millions of girls who might harbor dreams of playing for their country.

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Afridi adds that ‘”feminists can say whatever they want about my decision.”

This is not about feminism it’s about equality and showing equal respect for aspirations of your daughters as you would for your sons.

Sports is about fighting, and preserving against the odds. It’s definitely not about telling young girls that, no you can’t pursue your dreams just because of your sex.

Afridi should come out and apologize for this regressive and sexist statement and for the wrong message it sends to Pakistan’s young girls.

But before that he needs to apologize to his own daughters for thinking less of them.

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