published on 11 November 2021

Gender equality, sport can help change mentalities.

Interview with Swathie and Celena, two young girls from Sport dans la Ville


At 18 years old, Celena and Swathie have an advanced view on the issue of gender equality and the role that sport can play in changing mentalities. Both have been registered at Sport dans la Ville for the past two years and have participated in the Impact 2024 project Demain avec Elles, which aims to encourage female leadership.

"We met in high school, in thefirst year, through mutual friends. Our common Indian culture brought us together right away. We discovered that we had a lot of other things in common, especially our love of sport.

Celena and Swathie are two young girls who grew up in Gonesse and who have been taking part in the activities of Sport dans la Ville for more than two years now, both in the cardioboxing sessions and in the professional integration activities Job dans la Ville.

In this interview, they tell us about their relationship with sport and their vision of gender equality, an issue that is particularly close to their hearts.


Swathie: Sport is a real escape for me, as I'm stressed by nature. It allows me to release my energy and let off steam. I've always been very sporty, I've tried many activities including athletics and boxing.

Besides, this sport was not easy to get my family to accept, I had to fight with my parents to get them to let me join. Today, it's easier. They have evolved and I can do cardioboxing with Sport dans la Ville.


Celena: It was a bit of the same experience for me. In our culture, combat sports are not well accepted when practiced by women. I was not able to achieve my ambitions in Karate, although my coach told me that I had potential. Today, I take this with hindsight but I know that I will assert my choices more in the future.

By doing sports, I really gained confidence in myself. Even though I'm small, I've managed to win fights, I've done things that I didn't think I was physically capable of. It's really essential to have confidence and to know your abilities.


And on the issue of gender equality, Celena & Swathie are unanimous: mentalities are changing but there are still too many discriminations and inequalities.


Swathie: By taking part in the "Demain avec Elles" project, I realised things that I had never really questioned or identified. For example, the fact that many professions where there is a position of power or hierarchy are not feminised in the French language or that, on the contrary, certain professions, linked to care for example, are almost exclusively feminine. In the world of sport it's the same, we have many more references to male athletes than to female athletes...


Celena: For my part, I think that in order for us to have more confidence in ourselves and to break the glass ceiling we need role models, examples that show us that it is possible. There are plenty of inspiring women in society and in all sectors, the problem is that we don't have access to them. For me, the concern is not about representation but about visibility.

Sport has a role to play because it is a field that is highly publicised and that makes young people dream. So if there is more visibility for women in sport, it will inevitably help to change mentalities and give us more confidence.


Swathie: One of the keys that will help us to move society forward is to have confidence in ourselves. Self-confidence is something that pushes us up and makes us do things. And sport is a magical element that boosts confidence. I've never felt stronger than when I've won matches or managed to complete a sporting challenge.


A good example of the impact of sport in the individual journeys of Celena and Swathie. Empowerment and leadership, two keys to success.

Did you like the article? Share it!

Read the latest news

View all articles

Help us to

always help

more young people