A new commercial by Nike has thrown the spotlight on India’s sportswomen, using sports as a trigger to boost female empowerment.
In a break from the typical alpha-male dominated imagery seen in most sports advertising, the Nike India commercial features a cast of over 160 girls such as one of the world’s youngest fully trained Stott Pilates instructors, Namrata Purohit, footballer Jyoti Ann Burrett and cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandana and Shubhlakshmi Sharma, in addition to other sports practitioners.
Major star power is added by the likes of tennis star Sania Mirza and former national-level badminton player turned actress Deepika Padukone.
The music-driven ad titled “Da Da Ding” is inspired by sociological findings that suggest that “female participation in sport helps to alter a girl or woman’s self-image in numerous ways, including feelings of control, competency and strength,” according to a statement from Nike.
For example, Rani Rampal, who in 2010 at the age of 15 became the youngest player on India’s national field hockey team, says that sports helped build her self-assurance and expand her dreams: “Coming from a small village never stopped me; every time I won a medal I kept getting stronger and more confident to take on the world.”
Given that women have traditionally remained under pressure to live up to outdated expectations – be it in how they look or what careers they choose – India’s sportswomen can fuel a new wave of much-needed female assertiveness.
An assertiveness that also reflects how they earn, save and invest their money.