We laud the accomplishments of the Tibetan Women’s Soccer team and have been consistent in our love for the courage and passion with which the girls on the team, with help from the elders guiding them, have taken charge of their dreams of playing football. These girls are challenging and breaking stereotypes, encouraging other girls to pursue sports that are conventionally considered men’s turf, encouraging self-confidence, and they are doing it all with invigorating joie de vivre.
The Tibetan Women’s Soccer says that they are not being afforded the same space, money and importance as the boys’ teams in schools and alleges that the Tibetan National Sports Association has practiced sexist discrimination against the women’s team and “[tried] to block women’s football from achieving its goals”. Tibetan Feminist Collective had in the past published several pieces in support of Tibetan Women’s Soccer, including an open letter from the players of Tibetan Women’s Soccer team.
There are reports however that the Tibetan National Sports Association, on the other hand, has accused the Tibetan Women’s Football of encouraging the team members to issue false testimonies in writing and on video (in the open letter and BBC interview). There are also allegations of mishandling of funds by TWS.
Considering that there are serious allegations from both sides against each other, we would encourage that Tibetans reserve judgement on the issue. We at the Tibetan Feminist Collective believe that to ensure an unbiased, educated stand on any issue, it is important that one listen to all sides of a story and then form an opinion. We therefore will not be writing about the Tibetan Women’s Football, Tibetan National Sports Association and the whole controversy until we have more information and a clearer picture.
The girls are Tibetan Women’s Soccer are our heroes, but we do not believe in using feminism to hide other issues, and we do not appreciate being used as a medium to divert attention away from them.