New York: Sania Mirza is a role model for girls not only India but all over the world, United Nations Women has said after appointing the Indian tennis star as the UN Goodwill Ambassador for the South Asian region.
Mirza was appointed the ambassador at an event held to mark the International Day To End Violence Against Women Tuesday.
"Sania Mirza has been a role model for girls in India and all over the world. We are pleased and honoured to have such a dynamic woman as our Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia," Lakshmi Puri, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations and deputy executive director of UN Women, said in a statement.
"She has been a youth icon and a beacon of light in sports, a field that is often harder for women and girls, due to an inherently uneven playing field. Not just her achievement in sports, but Sania's strong voice has reverberated across the region on gender issues as well."
"Sports can make a great contribution to gender equality. We salute Sania's achievement of putting India on the global tennis map and inspiring thousands of children, many of them girls, to take up sports as a career," Lakshmi Puri said.
Sania, India's most successful women's tennis player and the first Indian to break into the World Tennis Association's top 50 rankings, is the first South Asian woman to be appointed the goodwill ambassador in the organisation's history.
Bollywood personality Farhan Akhtar was also appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by UN Women for the region earlier this month, becoming the first man to be chosen for the role by the organisation.