TYO Recommends: Friday, July 6


This week, TYO looks at the rising number of female athletes in the Middle East. From a women's soccer team in Palestine to a basketball league in Saudi Arabia to Qatar's first female Olympians, women are rising to the challenge. You go, girls!

Bending it like Beckham: Despite formidable challenges, an increasing number of Palestinian girls are pursuing organized SOCCER. "There is a general assumption that Palestinian and Arab women belong in the kitchen; that our only role is to cook and take care of our husbands,” says Marian Bandak, a member of the Palestinian Women's National Football League. “We defied this and proved that we can play football as well.”

Shooting hoops: Soccer isn’t the only sport inspiring young female athletes of the Arab world. Following Saudi Arabia’s recent lifting of a ban on female Olympians, CNN sits down with all-girls BASKETBALL team from Jeddah to discuss their love of the game, their contributions to the community, and their hopes for the future.

And aiming for the gold: Qatar is also sending its first female athletes to the Olympics: an air-rifle shooter, a swimmer and a sprinter. SHARPSHOOTER and 19-year-old college student Bahiya Al-Hamad discusses the challenges, joys and pressures of representing her country.

So keep her in the game! As we’ve seen, athletics are an inspiration to many girls, but many also face pressure to drop out and conform to expectations and traditional gender roles. This Gatorade spot encourages young girls to stay in the game!

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Lending Ambition. Just how do we inspire our girls to SUCCEED, both on and off the playing field? Should we tell them they can have it all, even if they can’t? In a different look at modern women, the Atlantic’s Gayle Tzemach Lemmon says yes.