|Image from zimbio.com.|
Bahya Mansour al-Hamad, above, was the flag bearer for Qatar at the Olympic opening ceremonies. The London Olympic Games mark the first time that every country represented has sent female athletes to compete. Women were first incorporated into the Olympics during the 1900 games in Paris. Since the 1996 Atlanta games, 26 teams have added women to their rosters. This year, women from Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia will be the first of their nationalities to compete.
While this may not be the answer to worldwide inequality, it is certainly a big step for women everywhere. Olympic athletes are meant to represent their countries and are seen as heroes to all those watching at home. By sending female athletes to the Olympic games, these countries are recognizing the importance of women. They are also validating the dreams of girls everywhere. At the 2012 Olympics, Brunei, Qatar and Saudi Arabia joined 201 other countries in saying that women deserve to be recognized, and that we, too, can be heroes.