Russian girls are cheering for their country

Russian girls are cheering for their country

When Iran won defeating Morocco 1-0  the crowd of men and women celebrated and cheered together in the stadium. This would not have been possible in Iran.

I remember the first time I begged my dad to sneak me into a football match. It was 2002, and longtime rivals Iran and Iraq were facing each other for the FIFA World Cup qualifying match at Azadi Stadium in Tehran. There was no doubt that the stadium would be filled to maximum capacity. My father and all our male family friends were going to watch the game, and I was ready to do anything to join them.

I had even brought a hat and a sweater along as we were dropping my dad off at the stadium, hoping to convince him to let me sport my makeshift disguise to cheer on Team Melli. But alas, my dad, always the (wisely) cautious one, was too afraid of the risks to let me go. Instead, like all the other girls and women, I watched that game, and many other Iranian football matches, only on television.

Until Friday in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Over the past 16 years, Iranian women have fought back against this discrimination by campaigning, lobbying lawmakers, and even disguising themselves as men to get into stadiums.

In the days since I arrived in the city, you could hear Iranians men and women chanting happily in support of Team Melli across the city. I met dozens of women who had come from Iran and abroad with their families and friends to experience a right that was taken away from them in their home country.

Digi Skynet

Digi Skynet

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