After many instances of outrage by female members of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA), it has finally decided to provide separate dressing rooms for girls from this year. The facility will be available from next month when the upcoming session starts at Azad Maidan. Additionally, they will also provide a room with bunks for teams who can stay back in times of emergency. This cabin can accommodate approximately 30 students and their physical education teachers. It will be extremely useful in cases such as heavy rain.

“We always wanted to give kids the best of facilities, especially to the girls who participate in tournaments conducted by us. After many years of struggle, this year, we will be able to give the girls and boys separate changing rooms. Also, the bunks can be used if teams are stuck at our premises in case of emergencies. They can use the facilities even if they come in early for their matches,” said Fr Jude Rodrigues, MSSA president, Mid-Day reported.

Big relief for female players

The move comes as a big relief for female sports players at the MSSA. They have complained about the lack of proper facilities and safety for girls in dressing rooms.

The MSSA recognised that its dressing rooms were in deplorable conditions and a reform was necessary. The sports body also promised to keep away perverts from these dressing rooms and ensure security and safety of girls

“The kids should feel at home. We spent around Rs 5 lakh to get everything in place. There is an air-conditioner, fans and TV in the rooms. Only the water connections for the changing rooms are yet to be completed. It will be done before the season starts,” added Rodrigues, Mid-Day reported.

These rooms have been built with modern facilities. The girls’ dressing room is closer to the MSSA main office, while the boys’ dressing room is closer to the ground. The emergency cabin with the bunk beds, and the adjoining toilet block, are near the tennis courts.

Safety must be an utmost priority

Separate dressing rooms for girls and boys must be a basic priority for a sports institute like MSSA. Unsafe conditions often result in driving away female aspirants from a career in sports.

Ishita Shah, a Basketball player from Delhi, said, “I can’t imagine how girls there managed without a separate dressing room. There are certain basic requirements for women, and a proper changing room is definitely one of them. Glad MSSA did something about it, rather than playing along. Women need to be encouraged to join sports and such moves for them help this cause.”

Read: Daddies Whose Daughters Are India’s Sportstars

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