What healthier way for you and your better half to kick off Valentine’s Day than with a mini marathon? The International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) in conjunction with Men and Boys for Gender Equality will on Sunday February 14th host a Fun Run in Gaborone.
The organisers of the event say the objective is to bring together girls and boys, men and women in the name of gender equality.
“This is an all-inclusive initiative that targets couples, intimate partners, father and daughter, son and mother, brother and sister to take part in the fight against gender inequality,” they said.
The fun run will include several activities that will teach and test each couple’s endurance, relationship and perhaps level of understanding each other; including understanding issues of gender or HeForShe commitment. As fun as the event is intended to be, the overall aim of IWG is to drive home the important message of promoting involvement and participation of women in sport.
“We want to develop a sporting culture that enables and values full involvement of women in all aspects of sport,” said IWG’s Marketing and PR Manager, Boitumelo Kenosi.
She added that as an organisation, IWG is concerned about disparities in certain aspects of sport that place women at a disadvantage; adding that women and girls around the world face personal, practical, economic, political and cultural challenges that make it difficult to engage in sport on an equal footing with their male counterparts.
She further said IWG was delighted to have BNSC Chairperson Solly Reikeletseng as their Campaign Champion as they will benefit from his influence and following.
“As part of his commitment to the cause, Reikeletseng promised to lobby at least 200 men register for the HeForShe movement within the 16 Days of Activism against Violence on Women and Children last year. We surpassed that target within just five days,” Kenosi said. “As we speak we have over 2, 000 men registered with the movement and our aim is to hit the 20,000 mark.”
As the host of the IWG Secretariat until 2018, Botswana’s legacy will be to influence policies that will enhance women’s participation in sport.
“Having someone like the Director of Public Service Management (DPSM) Ruth Maphorisa as IWG co-Chair will go a long way in driving home the objectives of the organisation. She has the ability to influence the powers that be,” said Kenosi.
Maphorisa, who co-chairs the IWG with Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC), says she sees her appointment as a big opportunity for Botswana and for Africa, more especially for women in sports who have been working hard to make their voice heard.
“We view hosting IWG in Botswana not only as an opportunity for women in sports but for all the women. For the period during which Botswana will be hosting the secretariat, women leaders in sports, business, education, and healthcare in Africa and the World will enjoy valuable lessons in dialogues and conversations about social responsibilities and social changes arising from women empowerment philosophy,” Maphorisa said when accepting the responsibility back in 2014.
She also promised that during her time as co-Chair, she will make sure that countries form networks and also bring lots of African states to sign up with IWG.
She further expressed confidence that Botswana will do a good job in hosting IWG and making sure the organisation is known and heard across the world.
Tickets for the fun run are sold at P350, 00 each. A ticket, which comes with two t-shirts, admits a couple. The fun run will start at 05h45 at the national stadium and end at the same place. Tickets may be purchased from the IWG office at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Head Office or at the Men and Boys for Gender Equality office. They can also be purchased at Webticket outlets. HeForShe is a solidarity movement which was launched initially by UN Women to address challenges faced mostly by women and girls. The campaign provides men and boys with a platform to build on the work of women’s as equal partners in the crafting and implementation of a shared vision of gender equality that will benefit all humanity.