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First all-female referee team takes charge at FIFA World Cup in Qatar

A Moroccan non-profit launched a campaign for women empowerment

First all-female referee team takes charge at FIFA World Cup in Qatar
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

For the first time in the 92-year history of the men’s game, three female referees were chosen to officiate matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar: Stephanie Frappart, Yamashita Yoshimi, and Salima Mukansang.

Through its Refs for Change campaign, the nonprofit organization Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertes Individuelles (MALI), founded in Morocco, sought to take advantage of this momentous event to promote awareness of and start talks about women’s issues.

MALI launched its initiative, which called for an end to violence against women and girls. Every time a female referee blows the whistle during a World Cup game as part of Refs for Change, MALI tweets in real-time to recognize the accomplishments of women who are or have been trailblazers in other male-dominated areas.

“Every day, women across the world make great strides and pioneer in different fields that for a long time were reserved only for men,” said Ibtissame Lachgar, MALI spokesperson and activist.

“Being pioneers themselves, the first-ever female referees in a men’s World Cup have the unique opportunity to draw attention to the patriarchal system,” Lachgar added.

Along with soliciting donations to support women’s empowerment throughout the Middle East and North Africa region, MAIL wants Twitter users to join in discussions and debates about issues such as women’s rights and gender-based violence.

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