The International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) secretariat has been housed in Botswana for the past four years, and as it shifts base to New Zealand, Mmegi Staff Writer, CALISTUS KOLANTSHO talks to global sports leaders about the impact of the organisation
Different sport administrators, doctors and athletes converged for the 7th IWG conference in Gaborone last weekend. The majority was impressed with how the conference went, and the impact of the IWG.
Dr Bella Bello Bitugu: director of sports, University of Ghana
To him, the most important aspect from the conference was networking.
He said he had an opportunity to meet diverse people from different parts of the world.
“The issue of exclusion, lack of access and discrimination is an attitude. It is a behaviour but most of it, is structural. It is the system that creates it.
Who told you that women are weaker, women are this and women are that?” he argued.
Dr Bitugu said it is the creation of mental, social, political, economic and religious construct. He said it is a societal thing and it is not a fact.
He said hosting the IWG Conference does not mean everything would be fine. “
We have moved the fight, effort and initiatives for access and participation of women in sport a bit further. It calls for political will and Botswana has shown the political will and other countries should follow suit,” he said.
Merav Olejnik: supervisor, national project for the advancement of women’s sports in Israel She said people should not rest on their laurels and think that everything is fine after the conference.
“It is important to find that the world is together. Globally, we can work together and share ideas. Sport is the language of peace,” she said. Olejnik said there is a lot that needs to
Doreen Nabwire Omondi: Women development officer, Football Kenya Federation
She said it was a brilliant idea to bring together all stakeholders involved in women’s sports.
“It goes a long way in nurturing young leaders like myself and it is encouraging to see that numerous leaders are working tirelessly to make sure that there are successors when they are gone,” she said.
Omondi believes that not enough has been done in Africa and more needs to be done.
She said the continent is diverse and huge. Omondi said after being hosted in New Zealand, the Secretariat should come back to Africa either Central or Eastern Africa. “Africa has unsung leaders. I was the first woman to play professional football abroad, but retired early due to injury.
That did not stop me as I shifted to administration. I would like to see more young girls and women in Kenya taking such roles.
We should nurture more women to get involved in sport and take the game further,” Omondi said.She said the conference was just the beginning and there should be more attention and focus on the continent.
Ana Idalete Ferreira: deputy director-human resources management, Angola Ferreira called for the inclusion of other languages, arguing that English and French were not the only languages spoken in Africa.
She said the organisers excluded Portuguese-speaking countries such as Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Guinea and Sao Tome. She said it was difficult for the countries to participate in the discussions.