New Delhi: Tanzania’s first female President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s remarks on female footballers have come under fire and she is being widely criticized for having a regressive mindset for women. Hassan made a controversial remark about women footballers having “flat-chests” and also suggesting that they would not be attractive candidates for marriage.
Addressing a ceremony to celebrate the victory of a national men’s team in a regional football championship, Hassan said female footballers did not stand a chance of getting married because of the way they looked, reports BBC.
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“If we bring them here and line them up, for those with flat-chests, you might think they are men – not women,” she said.
Supporting the patriarchal mindset which expects women to behave and look “appropriately”, Hassan said, “And if you look at their faces you might wonder… because if you want to marry, you want someone who is attractive, a lady who has the qualities that you want,” she said further adding that for the women footballers “those qualities have disappeared”.
“Today they are making us proud as a nation when they bring trophies to the country but if you look at their lives in the future, when the legs are tired from playing, when they don’t have the health to play, what life will they be living?” she said, as quoted by BBC.
“The life of marriage is like a dream to them. Because even if one of you here takes them home as your wife, your mother will ask if they are a woman or a fellow man.”
Samia Suluhu Hassan is being widely criticised for her remarks
Hassan’s comments are being condemned across the world while many were shocked to hear such statements from a lady when she is the only current serving female head of state in Africa alongside Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, whose role is mainly ceremonial.
“The comment by president @SuluhuSamia on women footballers is a humiliation to all women,” said Catherine Ruge, the head of the women’s wing of the opposition Chadema party and a former MP.
“So all those cheering a female presidency…@SuluhuSamia is denigrating female football players for having ‘flat chests’ and thus lacking attractive features necessary to get married. You must be proud @AWLNetwork,” Maria Sarungi, the founder of the civil society group Change Tanzania tweeted, referring to the African Women Leaders Network.
She said while some sportswomen were married, most of them were not, “and for the way they are, a life of marriage… is a just a dream”.
The 61-year-old is Tanzania’s first female head of state. It is to be noted that after Hassan took over the role of Tanzania President and said, “Even some of my government workers dismissed me at first as just another woman, but they soon accepted my leadership.