Research is underway to establish female representation in sports including at leadership level.
The initiative, which is sanctioned by Women and Sports Botswana (WASBO), was unveiled this past Monday at the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) conference room. The research, which will be co-financed by both the BNOC and WASBO is expected to be finished within the next seven months. The groundbreaking research, which will be the first to encompass all sporting codes in the country is estimated to cost at least P450 000. BNOC has financed the research to a tune of P300 000 while WASBO is expected to pay the remaining P150 000. Speaking during the cheque handover by BNOC, which is geared towards the research, WASBO Chairperson, Grace Muzila said the research will give WASBO pointers as to how to set up structures and policies to address women and sport issues in Botswana as well as to show if WASBO is achieving its mandate to increase women’s participation in sport.
She says when her committee assumed office almost two years ago, they realised that they did not have baseline data of women in sport.
“When our term of office comes to an end, we need to know where we were when we started and where we are at the end of our tenure in terms of women participation in sport. This research will give us an index of how much we have done during our term in office,” the WASBO Chairperson explained.
“This study will help us as we craft well informed policies which are geared towards addressing issues on the ground,” Muzila said.
Among the terms of reference, the proposed study will seek ‘to establish current baseline index and factors affecting girls and women’s participation in physical activity and sports at all levels within sporting codes.’
The study is also expected to give indications as to the extent of gender gap, gender based violence as well as various forms of discrimination within local sport.
Among its key objectives, the study is expected to reveal the ‘degree of gender disparity in participation, resource distribution as well as leadership and political positions. It will also help ‘to establish relevant and effective advocacy programmes for girl child and women in sport as well as to develop strategies that enhance fair resource distribution to promote equality of opportunity and socio-economic development in sport. For his part, BNOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho, said his organisation found it fit to help WASBO to conduct research as it is their mandate to make the environment conducive for empowering and creating equal opportunity for women involvement in sport. He said as the BNOC, they are still concerned that women are not well represented in sports. Aside from financing the proposed study, Serufho said BNOC has taken some deliberate decisions to ensure women are empowered. The research will be conducted by a team of local researchers led by researchers from the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN).