France Propose Banning Hijabs in Sport

The French voted in favour of banning hijabs in all sports competitions and argued that it does not support religious neutrality. The French Senate stated that the headscarves can put the safety of women at risk when they practice their discipline. Many Muslim women participate in sporting events and they should not be forced to stop due to their religious beliefs. Although this is not yet an official law in France, it will take away multiple sporting opportunities for Muslim women and girls if they proceed.    

Taekwondo athletes of Iran and Egypt wearing their hijab at the 2016 Rio Olympics medal ceremony (Source: Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths)

Dr. Nida Ahmad is a sports sociologist who specializes in Muslim women in sport and she declared that this will have an impact on the well-being and mental health of these women. It will affect their education, health and could cause changes in the economy. Athletes who chose to wear hijabs use it to express their identity while playing sport and this ban will be harmful towards their health.  

This proposal is alarming because France is expected to host the 2024 Olympic Games and, in the past Olympic Games, there were many female athletes wearing a hijab while competing. These female athletes choose to cover for personal and spiritual reasons; therefore, banning hijabs does not provide respect for women in sports.  

France has already put a ban on wearing headscarves in schools and government buildings, and the French Football Federation has already banned women from wearing a headscarf in official matches. 

This is a continuing issue in sport, and it is leading to political issues, cultural ideologies and gender inequalities. If the banning of hijabs in sport develops to other countries, it will negatively affect Muslim women who are passionate about sport because they will be forced to choose between their religious beliefs and their sport. 


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