100 of the Most Influential Women in Sport: Manal Rostom talks inspiration, education and the future of equality

Sport360 Writers 04:00 07/03/2019
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Manal Rostom

For the full list and categories scroll to the bottom of this article 

Ahead of International Women’s Day, here at Sport360 we are celebrating, and championing, some of the most influential and inspiring people from the world of sport.

This is not meant to be a countdown of the top 100, more a platform to show the impact women are making across all sectors, and all sports.

To show the diversity of change we have broken things down into athletes, boardroom and administration, coaches, personalities, and finally Arabs.

While this includes a lot of women from around the world, who are doing incredible things, it was important for us when setting out on this piece of work to highlight those on our doorstep here in the MENA region.

This is why we are incredibly proud to have been able to collaborate with Manal Rostom on this.

The face of the Nike hijab campaign and the founder of online community Surviving Hijab, Manal is both inspirational and influential when it comes to sport – both in terms of participation and decision being made in boardrooms.

Along with aiming to be the first Egyptian woman to complete the six major global marathons, Manal will also lead a group of women – most of whom will be wearing hijabs, to Everest base camp, further bringing crucial issue into the public conscious, and demanding conversations are aired and have a platform.

She’s the perfect fit for this list, and as well as working with us on it, rightly finds herself featured.

Manal said: “This has never been done before in the world of sports, and it not only focuses on Olympians and superstar athletes, but even down to some who are like the girl next door, which I am really fond of.

“I have been trying hard to break down barriers, but we have such a long way to go. We still need to spread a better message of tolerance and inclusivity around the world.

“Regardless of your religion, your colour, or gender, sport should be for everybody.”

The women you will see on the list are the trail blazers and trend setters who are not only breaking down walls, they are obliterating them.

They are taking on positions that seemed beyond that glass ceiling, competing in sports that ‘were never meant for women’, changing landscapes for the generations to come, and generally doing things that show there is no such thing as a dream too big.

They may be the ones leading the way, but there are armies now following in their footsteps.

There is so much more work to do, but the opportunities and platforms are appearing, parity may be some time away but with women like these are the forefront the pace of change will be vast.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceForBetter, trying to ensure a more gender-balanced world, and one that celebrates the achievements of women.

Those women on our list are the pioneers for this, it’s time to celebrate and stand with them.

100 of the Most Influential Women in Sport Arabs

100 of the Most Influential Women in Sport Athletes

100 of the Most Influential Women in Sport Boardroom & Administration

100 of the Most Influential Women in Sport Coaches

100 of the Most Influential Women in Sport Personalities

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