I met Shireen through a mutual friend, and I could honestly listen to her talk about sports for days. Not only is she a strong advocate for the rights of women in sports media, but she continues to push against the boundaries set before her by others. Read below what empowers Shireen to continue on her path in a male dominated field!
I started sports writing because I was not happy with the way it was being done. I disliked the way that the stories of Women of Color (particularly Muslim women) were being told. It was one thing to just critique the situation–but then it occurred to me that there are so few women like me in sports media, and that maybe sports media needed me, too.
I enjoy what I do tremendously. It’s a constant hustle, because in addition to keeping up with pitching stories, writing, creating, networking as a freelancer, being a single mom, and co-hosting an amazing podcast (Burn It All Down), I also have had to fend off misogynists, and Islamophobes.
This is unfortunately something many women in this field deal with.
I’ve written about the online abuse, and I am open about the awful emails that people have sent me. It’s an horrific thing to receive these type of messages (including rape threats), and it’s unfathomable to even think that men would be so insulted by a woman when she is speaking about the truths of oppression and injustices in sports.
Advocating for women in the margins is what empowers me. If it makes a difference in the life of one young girl who sees herself represented, or sees herself included then I am happy.
Obviously I wish my work was far more lucrative, but having a sisterhood and comrades in this fight against systemic injustice in sports media continues to fuel my fire. I get a lot of young women who contact me and thank me, and it makes my heart so happy.
But while I am grateful for the opportunities and encouragement, there is still a lot of work to be done. So, I tighten my hijab and roll my sleeves up, because the way that I do things is to get in there, make noise, and do the work.
Always do the work.
Twitter: Shireen Ahmed
Podcast: Burn It All Down