Beatrice Ayikoru, the second vice president, Uganda Olympic Committee, has hailed the progress made on diversity and women inclusion in Ugandan sport but is concerned with the slow pace.
Delivering a keynote address during the second women and sports conference at Makerere University last week, Ayikoru finds there is little progress made in women rising to positions of influence.
Quoting the 51 national associations affiliated to the National Council of Sports (NCS), Ayikoru pointed out an ugly statistic of only six of the 51 presidents (chairmen) or general secretaries in decision making positions are women.
That is despite a timeline of activities dating back to the 1990s with a commitment to increase the number of women in sports organisations. Ayikoru points to attitudes and behaviour that are harmful to gender equality. “A woman needs to be 200 per cent perfect to be easily accepted. Therefore, hard work, tolerance, perseverance and learning to be positive in any situation are some of the qualities women need,” Ayikoru states.
She explains that: “women can no longer depend simply on God’s mercy for change to happen in sports organisations. Those already in any kind of leadership position must take lead. We need to be innovative and create an environment that allows people to embrace the contributions women make in the sports industry.”
She says that it is important to have sports -friendly Universities and institutions of learning and many sports and non-sports non-governmental organisations by investing in strategic leadership while empowering men to understand co-existence at all levels in sports.
Globally, targets have been set to achieve 50/50 representation at all levels; governance, field of play, uniform, recognition and balanced reporting. For instance, by the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and 2026 Winter Olympic Games, it is expected to have an equal number of men and women as participants and equal number of sports disciplines, same equipment and kits for men and women.
However, Ayikoru says there will still be disparity in the number of technical officials and coaches at the games due to inadequate and competent personnel.