After the recently held Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections ushered in one woman, Women and Sport Botswana (WASBO) chairperson, Matlho Kgosi is a worried person.
Following the elections, Lobito Ncube is the only woman elected into the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC), with five others falling by the wayside.
“Sport is a microcosm of the society. In our society the role of women in leadership has been on the decline.
About 15 years ago, we had four or five women Members of Parliament after winning general elections. We had many women in leadership positions in both the private sector and government,” Kgosi said. Kgosi added overtime the role of women in leadership has declined in society in general and that is being replicated in sport.
“There are many socio, political and economic reasons for that but it depends on which sector you are talking about. I am not happy about the role of women both in number, in capacity and in influence of women in sport,” she said.
Kgosi explained that women form about 52% of the country’s population, but in sport leadership their average is about 20%. She said if women are not included in sport leadership, it is sport that suffers not women.
“We are not asking for favours. We are asking to contribute to our society. We are asking to contribute to sport because we know we can bring value but society is not getting that message. It is the same in sport,” she said.
Kgosi said it is tough to get the message across as evidenced by the BFA elections where one woman made it.
She said it was a protracted election process, robust and rough hence strong quality women do not contest for such elections because they would become persecuted.
“Why would you want to be persecuted when you want to come and contribute? No, we are not yet getting through by attracting the right kind of women in the right numbers and we are not getting through to our men folk to say we want to add value,” Kgosi said.
Last month, WASBO organised a Sport Pitso in Gaborone. Kgosi said they have a gender mainstreaming strategy, which seeks to increase the numbers of women in leadership, at technical level and number of elite female sport person.
She said they also want to work better with the media because the reporting in relation to gender has always been a concern. She said they want to improve the role that WASBO could play in getting media to
Kgosi said the strategy is about positioning women within sport to enable them to participate. “We also had International Working Group (IWG), which focuses on research. We do not do enough research in Botswana to inform policy, which can guide the work that we do. The resolution at the Pitso was around that. How can we strategically place women to contribute better to sport,” she said.
Kgosi said there is need to assist women who are willing to contest for leadership positions and capacitate them. She added that they should lobby women to contest for positions. She said WASBO is providing leadership training for women hopefully to see them absorbed into the ranks of leadership.
“We have a work plan and we also have a matrices of reporting against this. We have a target of how many women we want in leadership by the end of our tenure, how many women in terms of elite sport, how many women in terms of technical ranks and just getting sport out there,” Kgosi added. She said one of the recommendations from the IWG conference and gender-mainstreaming strategy was that all National Sport Associations (NSAs) should have Women Sport Commissions. “These Commissions are supposed to implement the strategy and promote the role of women. All those protocols that they signed such as HeForShe are supposed to be implemented through these Commissions. The Commissions are supposed to be reporting nationally through WASBO and WASBO forwards and consolidate those reports to BNSC,” she said. However, Kgosi said only a few NSAs have formed such Commissions. “Signing was done but implementation is not happening. WASBO dropped the ball, we should have pursued that a lot and we are now advocating through the BNSC for NSAs to form Commissions because without them we cannot implement our initiatives at NSAs because that is where the job is done,” she said.
Kgosi said only 10 NSAs out of 41 have formed Commissions. She said they were on their way to ensuring that the BNSC forces the NSAs to form the Commissions failing which they would advocate for them not to get their money.
Furthermore, tomorrow WASBO is launching an award for a person or group that advances its objectives. The award will be part of the BNSC sport awards scheduled for November.