Editorial – Sport and Human Rights (March 2013)

By Right Now
Somali refugees play at a camp in Kenya. AFP: Tony Karumba

Right Now kicked off the month of March with our sport and human rights theme.

Paul Oliver explains how, contrary to what you might expect, sport and human rights are closely connected. He tells us why sport can be an effective tool to address discrimination, encourage respect, and promote social cohesion and equality.

Marking Right Now’s first foray into broadcast journalism, RMIT student Lily King filmed a story on an initiative by the Richmond Tigers Football club and refugee rights activist Dana Affleck to bring former asylum seekers to AFL games, who don’t otherwise have an opportunity to enjoy recreational past times like watching professional footy.

Still on multimedia, Right Now Radio spoke to Dyson Hore-Lacy, leading barrister and former President of the Fitzroy Football Club, about the intersection between human rights and AFL and the role of each in the other. From the Olympics, to Fitzroy Football Club to Lance Armstrong, Dyson discuss the way sport, culture and rights can support and undermine one another.

Continuing our look at Aussie Rules Football, Right Now’s Erin Handley explores homophobia in AFL and finds that the sport has yet to overcome the homophobic stereotyping and discrimination that peppers the game’s culture.

Looking over to the Olympic pool, Sienna Merope writes about the disturbing patterns of sexism in sport, which was brought into the spotlight again after Australian swimmer Jade Neilson spoke out to the media in February about “inappropriate” behaviour exhibited by male teammates towards her in the lead up to the Olympic Games. The incident was another demonstration that sexist attitudes are an issue that still confronts many female sports-players.

Women in sport is an important theme in March, and to explore these issues Right Now spoke to four accomplished sportswomen, Port Melbourne Football Club Assistant Coach Peta Searle, Australian netballer Natalie Medhurst, New Zealand cricketer Katie Perkins and Australian cricketer Meg Lanning, about what inspires them in their careers and what it means to be a woman in sport today.

The Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre also brought issues relating to women and sport into spectacular view in its latest exhibition, Onside, by bringing together over twenty artists to explore gender stereotypes, ideas about femininity and the sexualisation of women in sport.

And lastly, Amna K-Hassan, cofounder of the Auburn Tigers Women’s Club, writes an inspiring narrative about the complexities facing Muslim women who play Aussie Rules, a traditionally male-dominated sport. But she proves that football and faith can work together to help Muslim women and girls develop their self-esteem, as well as promote interfaith and intercultural bonds and friendships.

Roselina Press – Editor

For reviews of all of Right Now’s recent themes go here.

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