Interview, Nermeen Tahoun

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1.    Please state your name, country, and profession. If your country of origin is different from the country that you currently reside in, please elaborate.

My name is Nermeen Tahoun and I am a college student at the University of New Hampshire. I am American born but of Egyptian decent.

2.    How do gender issues affect your everyday life?

I think it’s prominent in today’s society, not so much in America as in other countries. For example, when I go home to my Egyptian family, my dad still thinks the women’s role is to stay home and take care of the kids and the man is supposed to bring the bread. So we constantly have that argument.

3.    Are issues of race a factor in your life on a day to day basis? If so, how?

I don’t think race is a big factor in my life. Honestly, people mostly ask where I’m from which is a great ice breaker when I say I’m from Egypt.

4.    Do you enjoy participating in or watching sports on television? Please elaborate.

I like watching soccer on TV, specifically the World Cup, but otherwise no.

5.    Did you enjoy participating in physical education in primary or secondary school?

Contrary to most people’s ideas of me, physical education was one of my favorite things in school. Why? – I got to be active; it was something that didn’t involve books and writing.

6.    Do you think that offering physical education in schools important? Why or why not.

I think it’s very important. It’s one of the few ways schools can ensure that students are getting some activity in their day to day life, because some people are really inactive. It’s a good way to get at least a half hour.

7.    How do you feel about the fact that it is illegal for a woman in Saudi Arabia to participate in physical education?

I can slightly see where they are coming from, but I disagree with the law. Anyone should be able to participate in sports. It’s not fair to not let someone participate just because they’re a woman.

8.    The International Olympic Committee states that “the practice of sport is a human right”, yet the IOC has not enacted any bans on Saudi Arabia due to their violation of this policy. What are your thoughts on this issue? South Africa was banned from the games in 1964 due to their racial apartheid; would you consider the current Saudi issue to be gender apartheid?

I think that if they banned South Africa in 1964 then they should ban Saudi Arabia as well. I imagine that they haven’t done so because Saudi Arabia has religion behind the reasoning, but I don’t think it’s fair.

9.    You’ve mentioned religion a few times now. Can you elaborate on it for me?

Religion – if you are of the Muslim faith, women are not supposed to present themselves in a sexually or attractive way. A woman running would be seen as “inappropriate” because it is an Islamic state. But personally I think it’s a woman’s decision regardless of the state’s religion.

10.    It was stated by Nawal El Moutawakel that a woman’s right to participate in sports is somewhat like a woman’s right to participate in society. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Please elaborate.

I agree; sports and other recreational activities are a part of society. If you can’t participate in sports then you are missing out on a great aspect of society.

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