Um-E-Aymen Babar returns this week to spotlight incredible women journalists.
In celebration of Eid this weekend I wanted to spotlight a Muslim woman journalist and share their incredible work.
Fadumo Olow is a sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator at Sky Sports. She previously worked for Telegraph Women’s Sport and has also partnered with brands like Adidas and COPA90. In 2019, Fadumo was awarded the ‘Ones to Watch’ award at the Football Black List. She co-founded the podcast ‘I Think She’s Offside’ and is also a youth worker at the charity ‘Aik Saath,’ a charity working with young people from different communities, faiths and backgrounds to promote and encourage conflict resolution and community cohesion through training, campaigns and projects.
This week also marked the start of the women’s European Championship taking place on home soil in England. The Lionesses won their opening match 1-0 against Austria at Old Trafford and while there was plenty to celebrate, it also highlighted a long standing problem that women’s football has had: the lack of diversity. The squad starting against Austria were all-white along with the three substitutes that came on during the game. Through her work, these are the structures that Fadumo is challenging. In a recent article Fadumo wrote about the Senate vote to outlaw Islamic headwear:
“As a Muslim woman I know the power of sport, and have seen it with the young people I have worked with. But when legislation like this is approved, with no outcry or opposition, it feels like we can never win.
“When Muslim women are silent, we are deemed to be victims of our faith, shackled by our hijabs and oppressed. Yet when we speak or take ownership of our choices, we are perceived as if we are enforcing Islam onto the world, or told we do not belong. A woman’s strength and her ability to play are not minimised by the layers she chooses to wear.”
Fadumo recently interviewed Lionesses defender Demi Stokes in a series called ‘Black, England & Proud’ by England Football where they discussed their role model Rachel Yankey and now being in a position to inspire the younger generation of talent helping to pay it forward. In the same series Fadumo interviewed Hope Powell. After an incredible playing career Powell became England’s first female coach, first Black coach and youngest coach.
Fadumo also wrote a chapter Football, She Wrote, an anthology talking about experiences as women working and participating in the football landscape. All this, however, is just the beginning of her incredible journey.