To celebrate International Women's Day 2021, Punjabi Rams wanted to highlight South Asian women that are breaking down stereotypes in what is often seen as a male dominated environment.
Surinder Bains is a Derby County season ticket holder and has been following the Rams since 1975, we took the opportunity to sit down and understand what #IWD2021 means to her.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
It would be great to have no need for international women’s day but unfortunately we are still far from equality. To me it’s a day to celebrate the women in our lives.
What is your first memory of the Rams and how did you get into football?
My first memory of the Rams is the open top bus tour celebrating the Rams winning the league in 1975, I was hooked from that day.
Women's football is slowly getting the backing and following it has deserved for many years. What are views on it today and what else do you think should be done to promote the women's game further?
I love that women’s football is becoming more mainstream. However, there is still a long way to go. It’s good to see more women football presenters, referees etc.
More sponsorship, advertising and more money in the women’s game could also help. I would love to see the women’s game as popular here as it is in the USA.
Punjabi Rams was set up to improve the representation of South Asians supporting Derby County. Why do you think there is such a lack of representation not only amongst South Asians but female South Asians as well?
I do see a lot more South Asian families, women and children at games. I have brought my sons to games before they could walk. In fact my son’s first game was actually when he was 6 months old!!! When they have got older and lost interest or been busy at university I have brought my nephew and my niece. When we’re allowed in again I will bring my sisters grand children including her grand daughter.
I think the more it is seen as a family event and the more the club provides facilities and a safe environment that make it easier for people to bring their family the more you will see the younger generation coming to games, including girls.
I do think some people still think it’s not a game for girls so introducing them to football at schools and the general promotion of football as an activity will also help.
Who is your role model?
I can’t name one role model. There are so many amazing achievements by Asian women in history.
I would have to say my Mum, and all first generation mums who came here and brought us up in what was a very difficult and racist environment. Those who brought up their daughters to be educated, strong, independent and encouraged them to follow their dreams and achieve their potential, even when they have had to stand up against some of the more traditional elements of our society.
All the Indian women who broke barriers to be themselves and to follow their own path. The Indian astronaut and the first Indian woman in space Kalpna Chawla.
Neerja Bhanot, the air stewardess who died saving lives on a Pan-Am flight.
There are too many to mention. I admire all women who live and work to support other women. However it’s great to see a South Asian woman in one of the most prominent political positions in the world, Kamala Harris.
A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.
So let's all choose to challenge.
How will you help forge a gender equal world?
Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.