By Sulayman Bah
Gambia Olympic House vice president Beatrice Allen has urged for consideration of women in the national executive bodies of sporting associations as a gateway to reaching the International Olympic Committee.
She said this when delivering a paper at the opening of a 2-day African Women in Sports Forum in Algeria on Monday.
The missing link to the realisation of this objective, according to Ms Allen, who doubles as Gambia’s International Olympic Committee member, is fast tracking women to NOC set ups via national sporting federations.
“….Encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women,”said Allen, who is also the chairwoman of Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Women in Sports Commission.
According to the NOC bureau member, this could be attained based on the Olympism principles which promote involvement in sports without discrimination as a basic human right with fair play.
She continued “on the basis of this, ANOCA has developed and adopted a blueprint for women and sport development in Africa.”
Under the leadership of President General Lassana Palenfo, ANOCA has endeavoured to support and promote women and girls in sports, and have launched multiple women’s leadership training programmes and support the WAS Commission meetings over the years, key to which were:
- The Luanda Women’s Leadership training and forum in 2010;
- The Harare Forum in 2012;
- The IOC World Conference on women and sports in Los Angeles in 2012
- The Kuwaiti WAS Forum for Africa-Asia in 2013” she stressed.
Miss Allen pointed out that in the ANOCA Blueprint the major challenges confronting African women and girls have been established as follows:
- Limited opportunities and marginalization
- Negative attitudes, stereotyping, and not being taken seriously
- Lack of recognition or acknowledgement
- Outright prejudice and double standards, biases or favouritism
- Competing demands and difficult sacrifices
- Negative effects of cultural and other social expectations
- Lack of resources and other support such as empowerment
- Failure to exploit existing opportunities
- Women not supporting other women (“pull-her-down” syndrome)
- Limited capacity and minimal professional self-development
- Few role models available, coupled with limited formal mentorship and guidance
- Poor networking
- Lack of confidence, self-esteem, and belief in oneself
- Resistance to change
Miss Allen finally called on the ANOCA Leadership to continue to intensify their efforts in resource mobilization, empowerment programmes, and the financing of sensitization and advocacy programmes for women and sports development in Africa.