Over the years, women have been discouraged from venturing into male stereotyped jobs or careers, and oftentimes chocked out of the passion or even frowned at.
This trend has caused many women to withdraw into a regular career comfort zone, out of the fear of being perceived as different. However, with the emergence of female trailblazers who have gone ahead to chart the course for others, other women are beginning to emerge from their hiding places like snails from their shells, sweeping a media frenzy across the globe.
One of such exceptional women is Salma El Majidi, who has made news in the Arab World with her decision to take up a career in a male-dominated terrain.
El Majidi the first Arab and Sudanese woman to coach a men’s football team in the Arab world. As the story, El Majidi crosses filters into the ears of many, women across the world are encouraged that their counterparts across the MENA region are beginning to make waves around the world.
It is obvious that with other trailblazers from the region, such as; Captain Nevin Darwish who became the first Egyptian-Arab female to fly the Airbus 380, and Shadia Bseiso – first Arab woman to be signed into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – women in MENA are gradually moving beyond the boundaries of stereotype to let the world know that Arab women have a better place in future.
Yes! things are beginning to turn out well for them and it is also an achievement to the overall gender equality drive to women and women supporters in the world.
El Majidi is the daughter of a retired policeman who fell in love with football when she was sixteen. She often watched her younger brother’s school team being coached and was thrilled by the coach’s instructions, his moves, and how he placed the marker cones at practice sessions.
After each training session, she made sure to engage in a discussion with the coach about the techniques he used to coach the boys – learning from him. The coach noticed the passion she had for the job and after several discussions with her, he went ahead to employ her to work with him.
Salma was zealous about her job, although a graduate of Accounts and Management Studies from Al Nasr Technical College, she made sure she convinced her parents and family to allow her fulfill her dreams.
Coming from a traditional family, it was a challenge for her to defend her decision and prove herself to her relatives, but as time went by, the result of her great talent began to show itself and members of her family soon realized that she was serious about her decision and was ready to make something out of it.
Salma is 27 years old and from a part of Arab where it is believed that a woman’s role is confined only to her home. And not only that, it is also obvious that this ideology has crept into most career fields including the female football teams. It is also important to point clearly that there is no legal ban on women’s football in Sudan, but a conservative society coupled with the Islamist leanings of the government have left it in the shadows, making football a distant dream for most of the women.
However, in the midst of all these, while the social beliefs have mostly discouraged women in Sudan from pursuing Football as a career, and while others are still struggling to break free from certain barriers in order to get to a common level, Salma who has been determined to succeed went around it to become a football coach for an all-male team.
She was recently acknowledged by FIFA as the first Arab and Sudanese woman to coach a men’s football team, prior to this recognition, in 2015, she was noted in BBC Arabic ‘s 100 inspirational women of the year.
She currently serves as the pioneer coach of the Al Nasr Omdurman football club in Sudan and holds the African “B” badge in coaching, which gives her opportunity to coach any first league team across the continent.
She hopes to coach an international football club someday.