Twitter Chat: #SouthAsianWomenSports

by Pia Chakrabarti 

Recently, I administered a chat on behalf of Brown Girl that took place on the wonderful world of Twitter on Feb. 12.  The chat’s purpose was to start a conversation surrounding the need to encourage more South Asian women to enter sports related careers.

For those of you who may not know, a Twitter chat is when the participants add the same hashtag, in this case #SAWSports, to each Tweet pertaining to the topic, so that everyone can follow along during the conversation. During the chat, moderator Neha Soneji addressed issues  and questions pertaining to South Asian women in sports.

South Asian women athletes, community organizations and others contributed their thoughts to the chat. Some questions Neha asked were – why are there so few South Asian women involved in sports and what can be done to encourage more women to choose it as a viable career path.

After the chat took place, I spoke to Neha to learn more about the purpose of the #SAWSports chat and what kind of impact a chat like this can make on the Twitter community and beyond.

Please tell us about yourself:

I work with organizations in the sport for development arena including Magic Bus USA and Crossover Basketball & Scholars Academy. These organization are using sport as a tool to drive change in India.

Why did you decide to start this Twitter chat?

Most of us know South Asians in the U.S. face many obstacles, including the cultural patriarchy, the glass ceiling, pay gap, maternity leave, and there are expectations to cook, clean and care for a family.  Trying to follow your passion is hard enough and trying to break into a male dominated industry like sports may seem nearly impossible for South Asian women.  But, it’s not; within the last ten years South Asian women have made impact in the industry. A twitter chat was something I thought we could use to start to build a community and for others to get to know one another who are in this space.

How do you think as a community we can encourage Brown Girls to get involved in sports?

We need more girls and young women to understand that it’s OKAY to follow your passion and do something that is not mainstream.

What are your future goals for the #SAWsport initiative?

One, to allow [South Asian] women to have a place they can go to and have a voice.  And two, to educate more young girls and women that it can be done, South Asian women can go into [the sports] industry and be successful.  It’s been done and can be done!

I was very excited to take part in the chat and feel the conversation was productive. I hope it will encourage more people and organizations to chat with us next month on March 12, 9p.m. EST, in support of more South Asian women in sports. If you wish to partake, tweet us @BrownGirlMagazine and @NehaSoneji.

Here are a few of my favorite snippets from the chat:

To read the full transcript of the #SAWSports chat, visit:

To read more about Neha Soneji, visit:

Caption: Indian professional Tennis player Sania Mirza at the 2010 U.S. Open

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