More inclusive activewear? Yes, please!
There are many barriers for women when it comes to participating in a team sport, from expense to lack of time to difficulty finding something that you like. The one thing that shouldn’t be a barrier, though, is comfortable clothing.
Research by Sport England in 2017 found that just 18% of Muslim women participate in regular sporting activity, compared to 30% of the UK’s female population as a whole. For Muslim women who wear a hijab, the scarcity of sport-friendly hijabs could be a factor in their lack of participation.
Which is why it’s great that Brunel University in London has decided to introduce a sports hijab, becoming the first university in the UK to do so.
It’s hoped the hijab, which is dark blue and features Team Brunel insignia, will encourage more women to take part in team sports.
The hijab is made from materials that are breathable and specifically designed for keeping the wearer cool. It will initially come in two sizes, costing £15. And, although it’s currently only available in “Brunel Blue”, the university hopes to introduce more colours in the future.
Brunel is not first off the blocks with a sports hijab.
A number of Muslim-run companies have been producing sport hijabs and modest activewear for years, including Malaysia-based Raqtive and Shorso, which is stocked by House of Fraser.
And Nike received plaudits for introducing the Nike Pro Hijab, which went on sale in 2018.
Although the Nike Pro Hijab received criticism from right-wingers (of course), who called for a boycott of the brand, it’s great to see sports companies and now universities like Brunel embrace clothing that makes participating in sport easier.
Images: Brunel University London