Policy Makers Pledge to Advance Gender Equality in Sport

Policy Makers in Sport, Education and Gender attending the 1st Policy Consultative Meeting on Women and Sport in Zambia pledged to give gender equality in sport a higher priority on the national and institutional policy agenda.

The meeting was hosted by the National Organisation for Women in Sport Physcial Activity and Recreation and brought together policy makers from the government Ministries of Sport, Education and Gender, Sport Statutory bodies National Sports Council, National Paralympic Committee of Zambia, National Olympic Committee of Zambia and Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board.

NOWSPAR Executive DirectorChairing the meeting, National Organisation for Women in Sport Physical Activity and Recreation (NOWSPAR) Executive Director Ms. Matilda Mwaba called on Policy Makers to recognize their pivotal role in meeting the challenge of gender inequality in sport which manifests in the limited participation of women.

In her presenttaion “Women in Sport Leadership: Beyond Tokenism” She pointed out that, the leadership pathway in Zambia is a site for discrimination and gender based challenges which facilitate the dropping out of women from the system. “In Zambia women comprise as low as 3% of leadership positions in National Sport Structures. It is this type of tokenism in the current regime of sport leadership which has resulted in a lack of women’s voice and genuine representation”.

National Olympic Committee of Zambia President Mirriam Moyo added that “as policy makers we need to appreciate tMirriam Moyo President National Olympic Committee of Zambiahe value of sport; then can we consciously and within perspective of the reality of women develop and ensure implementation of relevant policies”.

The meeting agreed on the need for special focus on institutional and individual capacity development of women in sport within the associations, including the implementation of an incentive based quota system.

NOWSPAR General Secretary

NOWSPAR General Secretary Ms. Lombe Mwambwa in presenting findings of a NOWSPAR study on the Sport Policy Environment in Zambia urged stakeholders to embrace their complimentary roles and shared responsibility: “We must move forward from complaints and accusations to engagement and from engagement to joint action.”

Ministry of Sport representative Grace Soko said “it is possible that the policy making process has left out some vital issues, but working with stakeholders such as NOWSPAR will help bridge the gap between policies and the reality in the sport sector”

“I think we are generally agreed that we have to work together and more quickly to improve women’s situation in sport” Mr. Kalenga, General Secretary of the Professional Boxing and Wrestling Board said, “We are responsible for our affiliates so we should provide direction and ensure compliance to policies.” he added.

The meeting also discussed the draft Code of Conduct on violence against women in sport being developed by NOWSPAR, Women Win and NIF. Building on the resolutions of this year’s NOWSPAR 3rd Consultative Conference on Women and Sport in March and the 5th World Conference on Women and Sport in May, the Policy Makers agreed that the challenge of violence required practical immediate tools and that the Code of Conduct was a valuable and timely strategy towards awareness, capacity development and action by the sport sector.

Representing the Gender in Development Division (GIDD), Policy Analyst Mr. Norbet Bukoka acknowledged the lack of recognition of the sport sector in the National Gender Policy and underlined the need for increased cooperation with the sport sector to ensure shared resources capacity development and advocacy in addressing violence against women which cuts across all sectors.

General Secretary of the Paralympic Committee of Zambia Ms. Esther Tembo urged the meeting to ensure the resulting Code of Conduct on Violence Against women in sport recognizes the special position of women in sport with disabilities and special needs.

Ms. Hamaimbo of the Ministry of Education also drew attention to the role of curricular in awareness and breaking down of stereotypes. “We can cooperate to ensure inclusion of values relating to women’s participation in sport in Cultural Studies for example” she said.

The Policy Makers acknowledged that forums of this nature are important for the sector to ensure consensus and monitoring of joint targets and goals. In the resolutions, the meeting committed to developing and acting together to address through their policies and structures the fundamental and resulting effects of gender inequality in sport in Zambia.

The meeting was supported by the Norwergian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Conferdaration of Sport (NIF).