- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinian women break taboo on referee soccer matches
- Date: 24th May 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FEMALE REFEREE, INAS ADAWEE SAYING: "Of course the men's game is harder because it is tougher than a girls' game. Women by nature are not aggressive. But at a refereeing level, male matches are nicer, especially when you are a woman and men ask why a woman is refereeing, this will be a challenge for them. But I also want to raise the profile of women by proving that we can do a better job."
- Embargoed: 8th June 2010 13:00
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky,Sports
- Reuters ID: LVAE35X1F3FIX2H6ESDRB4EI07LK
- Story Text: Inas Adawee has been a keen sportswoman ever since childhood, but her latest ambitions are causing a stir within her local community.
The 24 year-old Palestinian woman is training as a soccer referee as she bids to break down taboos related to the male dominated sport.
"I have liked sport since I was young, I used to attend all sports courses like volleyball, swimming, and everything. But my decision to become a referee is because there are not a lot of females who are referees in Palestinian society," she said.
Women in the Middle East lag far behind men in sporting activity, to a great extent because of traditions and conservatism.
Adawee says she was initially criticised in her community for her decision.
"At the beginning I faced a lot of difficulties, especially from people who would ask how a girl can become a soccer referee. They ask: 'Who are you to be a referee? You are a female that referees a league of young boys'. People saw us during the Knights League at Al Khader stadium and we proved ourselves.," she told Reuters.
Adawee has been officiating games for boys teams since the beginning of the year, but is hoping that she can eventually officiate senior matches.
"Of course the men's game is harder because it is tougher than a girls' game. Women by nature are not aggressive. But at a refereeing level, male matches are nicer, especially when you are a woman and men ask why a woman is refereeing, this will be a challenge for them. But I also want to raise the profile of women by proving that we can do a better job," she added.
Palestinians enjoy soccer but have never been able to produce a strong national side, even with the help of second-rate naturalised South Americans.
Palestine is a member of FIFA and they currently share ranking number 174 in the world with the likes of Seychelles, the Cayman Islands, Laos and Somalia.
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