News & Current Affairs

Qatar 2022: The Three Hijabis confront Gender-based Violence In Sports

By Azeezat Okunlola | Nov 21, 2022

The Three Hijabis, Level Up, and End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition (EVAW) have written an open letter to the Football Association, as the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, to join the movement against misogyny and gender-based violence in sports.

In February, while the Women’s Euros were kicking off, the campaigners sent out a letter to the Premier League and the Football Association, asking that they see some commitment from football's most prominent influencers in tackling gender-based violence against women in football.

This was a success, seeing as they could change the Premier League policy on implementing mandatory consent and gender-based violence training across all Premier League clubs and for all staff in August.

Once again, they are asking these football influencers, "Whose side are you on?", in an attempt to ensure that football is not used as a sport to enable violence against girls and women, exploitation of migrant workers, homophobia, and all forms of racism.

The campaigners are also using the Qatar World Cup as a backdrop to call on the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the Football Association (FA), Wales, and the England football teams to help amplify the voices of Iranian women during this time. 

Commenting on the nationwide protest ongoing in Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini, the Three Hijabis said, "We salute the bravery of our sisters in Iran standing up for their right to live freely without patriarchal control and the weaponisation of religion to police their bodies and choices."

"This World Cup cannot and must not ignore violence against women and girls and gender-based violence inside and outside of football."

"Our England and Wales teams and players have a duty to use their profile and platform to amplify the voices of women in Iran and support the players and staff in the Iranian national team who hold these same values. The England team has demonstrated its commitment to standing up to racism and homophobia. The Qatar World Cup is another vital moment for football to commit itself to taking the necessary action to stand up to all forms of gender-based violence and violence against women and girls in football." They added.

The letter also read, "It is by shining a light on the ugly side of the beautiful game that we can harness the power of football fans to hold those with power in football accountable. Football must be a truly safe space for all women and girls."

The Three Hijabis are an award-winning campaigning group. They are British Muslim women, football fans, and equalities experts with a particular focus on misogyny, violence against women and girls and anti-racism, working to make football and sports inclusive and safe for everyone.

The Three Hijabis was formed after the viral success of a petition after the final game of the men's 2020 Euros to ban racists from football. Since then, they have teamed up in coalition with EVAW (Ending Violence Against Women) and Level Up.