Ace Indian tennis player Sania Mirza has said that she doesn’t think of herself as a feminist.
Sania Mirza was interacting with media along with Mithali Raj and Neeti Mohan at the launch of United Nation’s Women’s anthem “Mujhe Haq Hai” as United Nation’s goodwill ambassador in India and South Asia on Wednesday in Mumbai.
Sania touched on the subject of parity in prize money for men and women in the sport. “Till today we fight for equal prize money, we have to justify why (as) a tennis player we should make the same prize money that the men do.. so that means this inequality is everywhere in this world, not just in this part of the world”.
“When we come out and try to speak about it, we are labeled as feminists and for me, that word just doesn’t do it because why we don’t speak about man who is speaking about men’s rights but if any woman speak about female rights or feminism, people call them as feminist but I don’t think I am feminist.”
“I think I am a person who deserves equal opportunity like we all do. Whether you are man or a woman, it doesn’t matter what gender you are. My parents always me and my sisters to follow our dreams no matter how unconventional they were and I think we were really privileged to come from that family”
Sania Mirza recalled the contribution of her parents when she took up the sport, and how they dealt with people’s jibes and mocking.
“I started playing tennis when I was six years old, at a time when a girl playing tennis in Hyderabad was unheard of. I came from a family full of cricketers, including my dad,” said Sania, who is married to cricketer Shoaib Malik.
“When my parents actually said that she is going to play tennis, my aunts and uncles were like ‘kali ho jayegi dekhna, koi shaadi nahi karega’ (her skin will darken and nobody will marry her)….,”
“I thought my dad is the greatest hero because he stood up against everyone and said that I don’t care. They use to mock my parents and say what do you think, that your daughter is going to become a Martina Hingis? The fate had it that I had to win three of my Grand Slams with Martina Hingis,” Sania added.
Sania, who is pregnant, revealed that her husband wants a girl. “I think it’s very important for a girl to believe that she is empowered within in order for men to believe that she is empowered. You have to believe in equality when you want to get treated equally.”
Tomorrow whether I have a boy or a girl that is exactly what is going to be taught to them and the secret is my husband wants a girl very badly but I told him that I don’t have control on that anymore” she said.