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Four Women Referee a Men’s Soccer Match

When you sit down to watch a sporting event, whether it’s football, baseball, or soccer, you are likely expecting to enjoy the next hour hoping that your favorite team will win. You will probably have some snacks and drinks sitting on your coffee table as sustenance for the game, ensuring that once the program has started you will have no reason to get up. Watching or playing sports, after all, is a great way to spend time with friends and family.

What you are probably not expecting, however, is to witness women breaking the barriers of gender stereotypes. Last Sunday, just this happened thanks to some incredible women.

After refereeing a soccer match between Stade Tunisien and Union Monastir, four women made history. These women were led by International Tunisian referee Dorsaf Ganoiati, who has been working as a referee for several years.

Ganoiati is actually a former soccer player herself, and has since been a physical education teacher and a referee since 2012. She is clearly not concerned with gender stereotypes, and she shows this in her line of work. In an interview a few months ago, Ganoiati said, “Some of the players are initially shocked to see a woman referee, but they soon forget about it and focus on their match.” Her attitude shows how important it is to continue to pursue what you are passionate about, despite other people’s assumptions or expectations. Ganoiati recognizes that men were shocked at first, but she was able to move past that shock by focusing and committing to her job.

Ganoiati is actually considered a rising star in her field, a huge feat for a woman in a mostly male-dominated industry. She is currently looking “forward to refereeing top-flight matches in Tunisia and international games abroad.”

Ganoiati sees right past gender stereotypes and is able to look into her own future and plan for the advancement of her career. If she continues to work hard and break down barriers, she is likely to move far beyond these games onto the international fields for which she plans.

Ganoiati was joined by three other women, Amal Hached, Houda Afine, and Emna Ajbouni, on Sunday when history was made. Ganoiati was assigned the role of lead referee by Tunisia’s soccer administration, and Hached, Afine, and Ajbouni were assigned as referees as well. Because of this, the four women made history as the first group of women to run a second division soccer match in the region.

This game marked a huge step for women in the sports world, one of the most blatantly male-dominated industries. The persistence of these women, likely treated with surprise and confusion upon choosing the profession, is an incredible example of how important it is to follow your dreams despite other people’s expectations.
Though it may have been hard to break down those barriers and resist all the people deterring them from pursuing athletics, these women have taken a huge step for all women, especially women athletes.

Featured Image by Blondinrikard Fröberg on Flickr

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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