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Iraqi Women Battle Gender Inequality by Forming a Women’s Basketball Team

Iraq Women's Basketball
SB Nation, YouTube

Laylan is a 20-year-old Iraqi native who’s also the star player of an all-female basketball team she started. That fact alone may not seem like much to a lot of us in America, but to the people of the country who are still suffering through gender inequality, it’s a huge deal.

“For women? It’s not allowed. For men only,” said an Iraqi man when asked about the subject of a women’s basketball team. “Female sports should not be played in front of strangers,” said another. However, this opposition is more like a source of inspiration for Laylan than it is a deterrent.

The Jordan Brand decided to feature Laylan and her story for its first installment of the ‘Rise Above’ documentary series, which profiles amateur athletes from around the world who are choosing to “rise above” despite “personal, societal and environmental struggles.” Check it out below.

“I couldn’t even catch the ball,” said Laylan of her first attempt at playing with the team. But once she got in the swing of three practices a week, she was quickly able to make a basket.

“We can be heroes too, you know” she said. “That’s why we’re playing basketball.”

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