Samia describes female footballers as ‘flat-chested.’
Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania’s President, has been criticized for comments about Tanzanian women footballers’ “flat chests” suggesting that they are not suitable candidates for marriage.
At a Sunday ceremony to celebrate the win of a national team in a regional championship of football, she made these comments. Ironically, she also called for more funding for women’s sport.
“If you have flat chests, it is possible to mistakenly believe that they are women,” President Samia stated at Sunday’s event.
“And if they look at their faces, you might wonder… because you want someone attractive and has the qualities you desire.
She said that “those qualities” have vanished for women footballers.
Samia, who was elected to office in March following the sudden death John Magufuli’s predecessor, is currently the only African serving female head of government. She is also the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde’s role is mostly ceremonial.
“Today, they make us proud as a country when they bring trophies to our country, but if we look at their future lives, when the legs get tired from playing, and when they don’t have the health for play, what kind of life will they live?” She said.
They see marriage as a dream. Even if one of them brings them home to be your wife, your mother might ask if they’re a woman or a man.
Samia’s comments were widely criticized online.
Catherine Ruge, who is the head of the women’s wing in opposition Chadema and was a former MP, said that “the comment by President @SuluhuSamia about women footballers [is] a humiliation for all women.”
“All women deserve respect.”
Maria Sarungi (founder of Change Tanzania civil society group) echoed this view.
“So all those cheering a female presidency…@SuluhuSamia is denigrating female football players for having ‘flat chests’ and thus lacking attractive features necessary to get married. She tweeted “You must be proud @AWLNetwork” referring to African Women Leaders Network.