‘Sisters in sport must toughen up’

Veronica Gwaze
WOMEN need to toughen up and break out of their cocoons in order for them to make it in sports administration.

This was the biggest take away from a survey conducted by this paper on International Women’s Day last week. Why do we have few women in sport decision making positions? Zimbabwe Olympic Committee chief executive Anna Mguni said the traditional definition of women’s ‘roles’ in society, as wives, mothers, and homemakers, means that they are not readily accepted in a male dominated sporting fraternity.

“There are negative perceptions of the sports arena and as such it is considered as an unsafe operating environment for women, an environment that is characterised by squabbles for power, harassment and abuse,” she said. “Women also need to be included in decision making processes, be educated on their capabilities, and their roles by using sport education courses to explain that women are not limited to society’s expectations. Women cannot continue to believe the talk that they are of the weaker sex.” Zimbabwe Cricket head of corporate affairs Nesta Vaki argued that women who have excelled need to be appreciated more so as to make others realise that sport is an area they can also successfully venture into. “The stories of women who have done well must be told loud and proud. The media should also give women athletes the same coverage they give the male athletes. We need to create positive images to inspire the next sports women,” said Vaki.

“It is actually not true that the environment is not good for women, and even if it were, it is up to us to clean it up by encouraging former sportswomen to undertake sports administration courses and be involved in the running of sporting organisations.” Zimbabwe Netball Association general secretary Barbra Rice said women must stop making excuses.

“Women should stop censoring themselves and start viewing themselves as equal to men. Failure to do that means that the female side of sport will continue playing second fiddle to the male side,” she said. Zimbabwe National Women‘s Soccer League (ZNWSL) chairperson, Barbara Chikosi reckons most women are unable to withstand the criticism that comes their way.

“Sometimes the criticism is not that polite and by nature women are soft which is why they rather opt to remain on the sidelines and that is rather unfortunate. If we continue to have few women in sport leadership, no one will firmly stand up for the girl child,” said Chikosi.

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