Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah and Chairperson of the Sharjah Women Sports Foundation, is calling out on officials, government bodies and private establishments across the world on the need to strengthen their efforts in supporting women and young girls in the field of sports.
Sheikha Jawaher’s call came during a recent follow-up on the final preparations of the upcoming fourth edition of the Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST 2018), organized and hosted by the Sharjah Women Sports Foundation (SWSF). Her call also comes as part of her vision that women in sports play a significant role in promoting a more positive environment, productivity and performance for a nation’s economy, culture, education and social values.
Slated to kick-off from February 2-12 2018, the 4th edition of the event will gather 70 teams from 17 Arab nations competing across 9 games that include Fencing, Basketball, Show Jumping, Table Tennis, Karate, Archery, Volleyball, Athletics and Shooting.
Highlighting the key role AWST played for the Arab region, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi highlighted that the tournament was more than just a regional women sports event, with trophies and medals. AWST is a calling for Arab nations and their communities to strive in their investments and support to women and female athletes, and develop a modernized community that invests on women for exceptional and professional athletic experiences.
She reminisced the challenges Sharjah underwent when it first began developing a dedicated world-class sports tournament for Arab women only, noting that many Arab communities were inspired by the volume of dedicated efforts Sharjah has invested into the conceptualization of something new and first of its kind in the region. However gradually, the region began to recognize AWST as a platform that uniquely empowered women with the opportunity of representing their nations during their paths to an athletic victory.
“The topic of women in sports promotes an endless set of initiatives thanks to the bandwidth of social opportunities and business sectors it is normally tied to. When promoting women in sports, we are also promoting a healthy lifestyle, one that is founded on the principles of building a wellness community capable of creating positive impacts across various elements in our society for the long run,” Sheikha Jawaher said.
She added: “The current global expenditure on obesity today is $2 trillion annually, that is, 2.8 percent of global annual GDP, and obese people are 50% less productive at the workplace than an athlete.”
Sheikha Jawaher underscored that sport contributes greatly to strengthening efforts for the empowerment of women on various levels, especially since women make up roughly half the Arab world’s population of 370 million people – sizeable human capital, which if given the right opportunities and strong support, will take the entire Arab region to new heights, benefiting both present and future generations.