Women in Sports: A Struggle for Change | Cremson

25 August, 2020 | Rachita Sharma

“You know yourself the best; keep working to polish your strengths, while recognizing your weaknesses. Don’t overthink.”
Growing up, I knew that chemistry and biology in general were my strength subject areas as I moved to the US to pursue my undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Working in the lab was exciting, but it wasn’t enough. I genuinely wanted to expand the impact that I could have on the lives of not just patients, but also general people as I decided to obtain my first masters in Innovation Management. Unsure of the next step, I returned to Thailand to accept an opportunity in consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where I would gain practical experience and knowledge in human capital management.

This was when the bigger picture started coming together for me. I realized I could satisfy my intellectual curiosity and have the desired impact if I combined my knowledge in health and performance with an understanding of people. I further refined this belief after recognizing that there is a lack of proper ecosystem for athletes pertaining to specific sports in Thailand.
Sepaktakraw is an indigenous sport in Thailand (also known as kick-volleyball), which remains largely unknown to the West. I wanted to change this and share our secret with the world. I decided to create a Sepaktakraw sports league for Thai athletes and staff to ensure their full-time career in the sport. The idea was not only to create a space for budding athletes, but also to showcase a unique aspect of Thai and Southeast Asian culture. My goal is to build global interest in Sepaktakraw, and one day have it earns its place in the Olympics.

As a woman in sports industry, I recognize the challenges others have faced because more often than not, women do in fact have to work harder to change perceptions in this industry. Sports federations in Thailand are dominated by men and many of their views are inherently skewed against gender equality. I’ve had my share of success in the face of these industry challenges. Many perceived that I was granted advantages because ‘I am female’ but I really hope they see and recognize me for my work. I believe people, regardless of gender, have both strengths and weaknesses that can compliment and strengthen each other.
There are numerous stressors in my life that I have learned to live with and mitigated. What kept me going is a habit of taking out an hour for Yoga almost everyday. This helps me stay fresh, energized, and focused, but above all is my passion for Sepaktakraw and how it expresses one wavelength of our heritage. The ultimate purpose of my work is to preserve the beautiful things our traditions have to offer. I view this as both a responsibility and an invaluable opportunity!

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