Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has joined the growing list of global sporting organisations in signing the Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration which commits the local committee to gender equality.
The declaration was signed by the immediate past BNOC president Negroes Kgosietsile in his penultimate final day as the president of the local NOC last Friday.
By signing the declaration, BNOC joins at least 496 sports federations and organisations, including among others, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIFA.
The aim of the declaration is to create an understanding of the barriers and dynamics which prevent girls and women from full participation and achievement in sport and physical activity.
Speaking at the signing of the declaration, International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport Co- Chairperson, Ruth Maphorisa said by signing, the BNOC ‘had taken a bold step towards promoting gender equality in sport.’
Maphorisa said ever since the first Olympics to admit women in 1900 at Paris, female participation has risen steadily over the years, with the highest participation recorded at 44% at the 2012 London Olympics.
The IWG co-chairperson said the record participation at the said Olympic Games has resulted in a major boost for gender equality.
“It was also two years post the (2012 London Olympics) games in 2014 where the adoption of the Olympic Agenda 2020 highlighted the IOC‘s ongoing commitment to gender equality in sport. Of the highlights of this commitment is the promise to ensure 50-50 participation at the 2020 Games in Tokyo,” Maphorisa explained.
Maphorisa further said the Declaration ‘suggests taking a gender mainstreaming approach to planning, designing and managing sport programs.’
At the same signing, Maphorisa urged the BNOC, which elected its board yesterday, to add more women into its leadership positions; an area which she said is worrying as the BNOC had only one woman sitting on its board.
“It is our hope that with the upcoming elections we will do well to have a board that is more representative of both men and women,” Maphorisa said.
For his part, the then BNOC president Kgosietsile said the declaration will give the local NOC an opportunity to promote Olympic excellence in Botswana.
“It will also be a step forward towards achieving the 2020 Olympic Agenda and the BNOC 2017-2020 Strategic Plan which will assist in ensuring gender equality,” Kgosietsile concluded.