The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) in conjunction with the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) hosted 30 women from various sporting associations for a leadership workshop in Harare at the beginning of November.
Women in administrative roles from various sporting disciplines including karate, shooting, netball, triathlon, table tennis, rugby convened to map their journey towards running for elections in leadership positions in sport.
The meeting identified the challenges women face in their efforts to take up decision-making positions in sport. Most importantly it drew up ways to counter the hurdles so as to rise to the top and contribute in the development of the country through sport.
Cultural expectations position women only as managers in the private sector leaving the public sector exclusive to male leadership especially in masculine sports such as football, rugby and cricket. Some barriers have been identified as self-initiated, these include women’s own inferiority complex and less self esteem as well as reluctance to embark on the necessary research needed on the requirements of becoming a leader in their area.
Speakers at the forum included sports administration giants like ZOC Chief Executive Officer, Anna Mguni and Vice President Busi Chindove, ZOC Women in Sport Commission chairperson, Letitia Chipandu and Kathy Lobb. They have walked the talk, rising from being coaches in the sporting field barking instruction from the technical bench to making decisions in the boardroom.
Busi Chindove’s presentation took through the forum steps to preparing for elections.
Steps to run for elections in sports administration –Busi Chindove.
*Be prepared for elections; understand the skills needed and network.
*Be known in the circles you are running for.
*Research on the role and what people think of you in that role.
*If your research shows you are not ready don’t do it.
*Practice speaking, if you don’t have it as a strength work on it
*Never think if you stammer you cant speak in front of people, it can be worked on.
* Be known of having character, confidence and being competent.
*If you want it, go for it.
What are these challenges women are facing in sports leadership in Zimbabwe?
*intimidation from men
*lack of resources to campaign
*cultural constrains, being expected to take care of the family and sports leadership being considered a hobby
*lack of education consequently leaving women unqualified for big posts.
*lack of confidence
What is the hope for the women who took part? How many of those women do you hope will progress in their sporting careers?
The 30 who participated are already holding positions in office, though not top positions but half of them with some good mentoring stand a good chance of winning elections in two years.
What is your role in this programme?
I participated as one of the emerging leaders, I am a marketing executive/ media manager for Zimbabwe Karate Union. Apart from that post I am a sports journalist in Zim. But basically I was there as a participant representing Zimbabwe Karate Union.
What other programmes and projects are you involved in – can you explain them?
Currently working on a women sports magazine that I hope to launch in January. I mentor female journalism students to take up sports media as a career. So since 2012 I have mentored 12 journalists whom I hope will find The Sports Queen as a good platform to make their names on since jobs in Zim are hard to come by.
Author: Gracey Chirumanzu is a sports journalist and founder editor of sports queen.co.zw
Many thanks to Gracey for writing this piece.