NIKE’S ‘PRO HIJAB’- How low must the bar for innovative inventions have sunk if the leading symbol of the oppression of women by Muslim men makes it to the Top 25 list? Hey, Time, this is nothing new. Muslim women have been forced to wear this misogynistic headbag for centuries.
TIME It’s tough to play sports in a hijab. If the material is too heavy, it causes excess sweating. If it’s too light, it might fall off during competition. And if it’s fastened in the wrong way,“you can feel like you’re going to choke,” says Manal Rostom, an Egyptian runner based in the United Arab Emirates.
Nike’s Pro Hijab—which was put into development after executives met with UAE weight lifter Amna Al Haddad in 2016—aims to shift that status quo. Unlike a traditional hijab, the Pro is made with light, breathable fabric that wicks moisture; athletes who have used it report that it helps manage sweat.
But for women like Rostom, who was one of the Pro’s early testers, there’s symbolic weight to Nike’s investment, as well. “I’m athletic, I’m outspoken, I’m empowered by a big company,”she says.“I’m representing what a Muslim woman can be.”