Today, there are more women in sports than ever before. A movement that progressed slowly in the Muslim World because of the many social and religious barriers that women face when pursuing careers as athletes. In the London Olympics 2012, several hijabi women made it pretty far in several sport events, denoting a cultural shift in the region, one that would have more Arab and Muslim women going into (and onto) fields they had never previously gone.
Earlier this year, Nike released a brilliant short film titled, “What Will They Say About You?” featuring several female Arab athletes. The film’s core themes were centered around the societal reactions to them choosing careers in sports. Aiming to empower women in the region, the film urges Arab women to pursue their paths despite what people say about them, a barrier most Arab women are only too familiar with.
The film was very well-received and emotionally moving by all accounts. Nike has decided to continue on the women’s empowerment path, and are about to launch their latest product aimed specifically at Muslim women, the Nike Pro Hijab.
Conceived about 13 months ago, the Nike Pro Hijab is made out of very breathable material that will allow more airflow than the traditional hijab, and it will stay on while you’re moving which is a challenge with the regular veil. Maybe with this product, Muslim women will feel more included in the sports world, especially that the faces of the campaign are two hijabi athletes who are pretty successful in their respective sports.
The Nike Pro Hijab won’t hit the stores until Spring 2018, but it has already been seen being worn by figure skater and Nike athlete, Zahra Lari from the UAE, who was one of the athletes featured in, “What Will They Say About You?”, as well as Egyptian mountaineer, Manal Rostom. Starting March 8th, the product will be seeded to other athletes worldwide for a trial run before it is launched.
Photo from Nike