All but two of the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) presidential hopefuls skirted around the issue of women inclusion in leadership positions and women participation in sport.
Seen as an elephant in the room in the current BNOC Executive Board elections runoff, the issue received either no response or was said in passing during the BNOC presidential debate this past Thursday.
The debate, which was organised by HIMAC Holding and hosted at Tlotlo Conference Centre, saw the five aspiring BNOC presidents come face to face in what was the first of two debates organised in the run up to the much anticipated October 7 elections.
Quizzed on whether men will not be maligned should she and most of her all women lobby list make it into the BNOC Board, Tebogo LebotseSebego said they do not ‘intend to sideline men.’
“We just want to increase the probabilities of a significant number of women making it into leadership positions in sports,” LebotseSebego said.
She said while increasing the number of women in leadership positions as well as in participating in sport has been on the agenda, it has not been acted upon.
“Our intention is to correct an anomaly. We want to do something about an issue that has always been on the agenda but has not been acted upon,” she explained.
For his part, another hopeful Ookeditse Malesu, who has always said he will have at least two women in her committee, laid the blame of low women participation in sport on men.
“The reason why women participation in sport is declining is due to us men,” Malesu offered. “I witnessed this during my tenure as Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) president when some selectors would overlook best performing athletes in order to get their love interests in the national team. At the time, I took action and kicked out two capable coaches from the team due to that,” he explained.
For his attempts, Malesu however did not offer solutions as to how he would ‘correct the anomaly’ other than to hint he will be supporting some women during the campaign.
All the five candidates however did not touch on how they will help the International Olympic Committee to reach its intended target of having at least half of the participants at the Olympics to be women.
Dubbed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Gender Equality Review Project, the initiative seeks ‘to raise continued awareness of the importance of gender equality within the Olympic Movement, share best practices and present initiatives to further advance gender equality both on and off the field of play.
The Gender Equality Review Project initiative was launched in March and has been placed as a tangible outcome of Olympic Agenda 2020.