Friday, 30 Sep, 2022

No women-only playground in Dhaka!

By :Faruk Alam
Published : Sep 23, 2022 12:33:00 AM | Latest

Despite sportswomen making the headlines very often bringing joy and honour to the country, there are no playgrounds especially meant for female athletes and players in the capital city. 

What is even worrying is that the bustling city of 1.5 crore people has 21 fields – all for boys and men. This clearly depicts the discrimination toward sportswomen, who face difficulties very often when it comes to practicing essentially. 

Shockingly, both city corporations of Dhaka say it is not possible for them to facilitate a separate field fully designated for girls and women.  

However, the 21 fields have “women’s corners” where females can walk only. 

Of the 21 fields, 13 are under the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) while the rest in the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).

However, some DSCC officials say the Kamalapur Stadium is the only facility that sportswomen use almost regularly. 

A recent visit to the stadium and Shyamoli field, which falls under the DNCC, also substantiated the fact.

Female footballers find the Kamalapur Stadium more than helpful as it is their last and only way of practicing.  They prepare themselves here, to compete in matches at home and abroad. 

But the Shyamoli field only has a walkway for women. The same feature exists in the rest fields of the two city corporations. 

Utterly inconvenient 

Experts say that there is no alternative to open space for children, who need fields to play. 

Their growth will never be normal if they face hindrance when it comes to sports, they add, suggesting that the DNCC and the DSCC must have had the commitment of a separate field for girls in their master plan.

They must look into the matter, they say.

The case is graver for girls as, given the situation in Dhaka, they are most deprived of outdoor sports.  

Institute for Planning and Development Executive Director Prof Dr Adil Muhammad Khan said the culture and atmosphere of men and women playing on the same field have not surfaced in the country yet.

“So, it is mandatory to set up age-based playgrounds for both genders. Every wards of DNCC and DSCC must have a field and the government girls’ school and college fields may get priority,” he suggested.

Sharifa Najnin, a resident of Shyamoli, said they go to the local field, which is mainly male-dominated, as they do not have another option nearby.  

“We face embarrassing situations often. We can’t even walk with full liberty,” she said. 

“Even though the government speaks of equal rights for men and women, it is not applicable for the playground issue,” said an irritated Najnin. 

Gulshan-2 dweller Shamiron Begum, echoing a similar sentiment, said they have the Gulshan Lake to walk on twice a day as there is no field there. 

“I have a 10-year-old daughter, who kept gaining weight spending almost all day at home. She refuses to walk along the lake,” Shamiron said, hinting at the “insecure and unsafe” atmosphere outside. 

Authorities’ take

DSCC Chief Urban Planner Sirajul Islam told that members of the SAFF champion team played at the Kamalapur Stadium. 

“We’re planning to modernize the field for sportswomen,” he said. 

But DNCC ruled out such the possibility of setting up an stadium or field only for girls and women, citing space scarcity. 

“Considering the population density in the city corporation, there is no to facilitate a separate women-only field in our masterplan as DNCC has the crisis of locations for new parks and fields,” the city corporation’s mouthpiece Moqbul Hossain. 

Mentionable, all the SAFF champion team members hail from outside Dhaka, with five of them from Mymensingh along and three from Rangamati.