The Gilgit-Baltistan Girls Football League is one of the initiatives in the region taking a step further to promote sports in the region for women. It is a women-led football league that has been run by the Shimshali Sisters, Sumaira Inayat and Karishma Inayat, since 2018.
The region has produced talented sportswomen in the past and is moving towards producing even more in abundance. The past stars from the region have become the main motivation of the girls residing in villages in the mountains of Gilgit. For this very purpose, women’s football and cricket tournaments are set up regardless of the challenges.
The mobility of women, their economic participation, and their independence is limited in Pakistan. There are fewer, or in some areas, no outlets in the country set for women in sports. However, in Gilgit-Baltistan, women are educated, socially mobilized, and economically resourceful, and also actively participating in sports in the region now.
We spoke to Karishma Inayat of the Gilgit-Baltistan Girls Football League and asked her a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:
1 – What is your initiative’s aim/goal behind arranging a football tournament in the region?
Ans: The aim is to provide a safe space for the underprivileged girls in GB to come forward and showcase their hidden talents. Through GBGFL, we want to empower girls and help them get an education along with playing sports.
2 – Do Locals of Gilgit Support Women in Sports?
At first, it was a task to make people understand how important it is to engage the youth in healthy activities like sports, we had to struggle at the start, but now people have seen the progress and support our initiative. We’re grateful to our players and their families for believing in us because these are the people that matter the most.
3. What are the challenges you face while actively promoting the game in the region?
Some people do not understand sports, and countering them is the most challenging part. Finding sponsors to invest in such an initiative in such a harsh landscape is also really difficult. We spend 7-8 months sending emails, and only a few understand our mission and investment.
4 . Are there any other tournaments for women in the near future that may take place in the region?
Yes, our tournament happens once every year.
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