Jordan’s first female referee breaks stereotypes in male dominated sport

By Abdul Jalil Mustafa

Amman, Nov 11 (EFE).- Israa Mubaydeen has etched her name in history books by becoming the first woman in Jordan to referee a men’s soccer match and she now wants to inspire other women to break the glass ceiling and challenge a sector that has traditionally been dominated by men.

“All women who stand out in the sports field gain self-confidence and that inspires other women to do jobs that were previously monopolized by men,” says Mubaydeen, who captained a team of referees for the clash between Al Baqaa and Sahab, both clubs from the Jordanian Professional Football League.

Mubaydeen said she felt “proud” after the match which she refereed with colleagues, Sabrin Abbadi, Islam Abbadi and Hanin Murad.

“This gives a new dimension to the capabilities of Jordanian women in a male-oriented society,” she added.

Mubaydeen knew that asserting herself on the field would be a challenge. Primarily because she would expose herself to criticism and sexist comments from the stands and on the streets.

The referee says that she got a mixed reaction after the match, which was played on November 2 at the Prince Mohammed Stadium in Zarqa, 30 kilometers east of Amman.

“We got both positive and negative comments, but the positive comments were overwhelming, coming mainly from the sports sphere, but also other fans,” she says.

Despite the players welcoming the women on the pitch, Mubaydeen confessed that for some “it has not been easy to watch women lead a professional men’s game,” although she refrained from going into any more detail.

The Jordanian Football Association, chaired by Prince Ali bin al Hussein, has endorsed the selection of a roster of female Jordanian referees.

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