Brunel University introduces sports hijab to boost participation

Brunel University
Faith Al Saad is "100% confident" that sport hijabs will encourage more muslim women into sport.

Brunel University in London is hoping to encourage more Muslim women to play sport by launching a sports hijab.

A 2017 study by Sports England found just 18% of Muslim women participate in regular sport, against 30% of the UK's female population as a whole.

Business management student and gym-goer Faith Al Saad is "100% confident" the hijab will attract Muslim women.

"I genuinely think it's a lifesaver," she said. "It feels like you're wearing nothing on your head."

Student union president Ranjeet Rathore added: "Muslim women were of course participating in sports on their own and in private, but they weren't really going out to competitions, or using sport as a social tool to get involved in activities."

Brunel University
Team Brunel with Ranjeet Rathore, president of the Union of Brunel Students

Some sportswear brands have previously introduced a sports hijab, but Brunel are directly supplying the hijabs to their students.

Brunel hopes other universities will follow its lead and introduce their own designs to further encourage participation.

Rathore added: "There are now other universities that want to partner with us, who want to take samples off us, who want to do their own hijab - which is great news."

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