Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari's personal story shines a light on overcoming culture and gender bias in sport
Dubai, UAE, 25 February 2018: As the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 commence, Procter & Gamble's campaign to promote universal equality in a world free from bias includes a heartwarming story of triumph over adversity that is closer to home for many of us in the Gulf region.
P&G's ‘Love Over Bias' series of films, which are the latest in its ‘Thank You, Mom' campaign, relate real-life stories of athletes who have overcome challenges thanks to the support of their families. P&G partnered with Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari for the Olympic Winter Games as they saw her as an inspirational athlete who has broken boundaries on her own athletic journey.
Zahra Lari is a three-time UAE National Champion who was the first Emirati figure skater to compete internationally. She faced bias for competing whilst wearing a hijab. Her barriers weren't only confined to societal acceptance of her performing whilst wearing the hijab; the judges of her competition deducted points from her score as the hijab wasn't considered an “approved” part of her costume. Zahra stood up for herself, petitioned for a change in the rules and won.
“That was a huge deal and a very proud moment for me,” she said. “But I wasn't really thinking of myself. I was thinking of the girls who are going to start skating and I don't want them being judged for how they are dressed.”
P&G's stance against gender bias and women's empowerment is part of a wider aspiration to create a better world for everyone through the promotion of equality.
A recent survey distributed to Olympians by the IOC on behalf of P&G found that 55% felt prejudice or judgment from others while growing up; Zahra and P&G want to help encourage people all over the world to embrace the idea of ‘Love Over Bias.'