Women continued to be sidelined in sports leadership positions after the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) annual general meeting held in Tlokweng on Friday ushered in a male-dominated committee.
The only woman who has been in the executive committee as secretary general, Irene Ntelamo suffered a 15-7 votes defeat to her male counterpart, Lefiri Moremi. As a compromise, delegates agreed to include one woman, Hlanganani Digwere in a non- decision making position as additional member.
Women in sport have expressed disappointment with the outcome of the election. Women and Sport Botswana (WASBO) Gaborone region chairperson, Keenese Katisenge told Monitor Sport that the ‘Think Sport, Think Male’ thinking still exists in society, even though there are some women who have proved themselves as athletes and sport leaders.
“The sad thing is we have a mixture of voters, both men and women who continue to disadvantage women, leading to compromised leadership which lacks true representation and deep understanding of women and girls issues in sport,” she said. Katisenge said as long as the status quo remains, lower numbers of girls would participate in sport since they would be having fewer role models and people to look up to.
“We cannot continue as sport codes to cry about lower numbers of girls in sport and be the same codes that block women to join sport leadership. It is upon us as women in sport to fight hard against this by standing up and be counted, by challenging men, by educating the society and by empowering women,” Katisenge said. She said it is upon the society especially the sporting codes to change their mindset and let women to take their rightful places and lead just like men because they need each
For her part, International Women Group on Women and Sport (IWG) secretary general, Game Mothibi held a different view saying the outcome of the election cannot be seen as a rejection but that both men and women continue to be affected by patriarchy and male privileges which are rampant in sport.
She said WASBO would soon avail their study on status of women in Botswana sport. Mothibi said that would assist them in understanding what the issues are which makes more women to lose at elections and see National Sport Associations (NSA) have just one or no women in their committees.
“Education is needed for both men and women. IWG has partnered with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development and Commonwealth secretariat to start gender mainstreaming and sport leaders have been engaged. The response from sport codes has been positive and we are hoping to reap the fruits for us in sport,” she said.
Mothibi said WASBO and IWG are in talks with Botswana National Sport Commission to run workshops on encouraging and supporting women in sport leadership positions as well as those willing to take up sport leadership. “This is a process that would take time and I take that the 7th IWG World Conference would expose our leaders to international standards experts and engage them in discussions that they never engaged in as sport leaders.”
The new boxing committee Dr Thato Patlakwe (president), Dirang Thipe (vice president), Gibson Rauwe (competitions organiser), Frank Chigutshi (treasurer), Taolo Tlouetsile (publicity secretary)