Women making inroads in masculine domain of sport
Women in Fiji and the Pacific are breaking barriers and finding their place in previously male dominated physical sports like rugby and football. Even boxing. It has been a long and a hard journey to battle the disparity and inequality. But they are making inroads in their bid to overcome prejudice and shift the power imbalance. Once pushed into sports like netball, volleyball and athletics, our women have unlocked and ventured into the once male-only sporting areas. Therefore, we applaud the effort put in by sporting organisations, the Fiji Association of Sports and National Sporting Committee, Women in Sport plus the Fiji Women Crisis Centre for promoting the agenda and creating the awareness. While we will always celebrate the Fijian 7s rugby team winning our first gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in August, this would not have been possible without the women’s participation. World Rugby introduced the Women Seven Series in 2012-13 in line with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter which promotes equality by including both genders in the global showpiece. The IOC, since 1991, ruled that all new sports wanting to be included in the Olympic programme must feature women’s events. The 2012 Olympic Games in London was the first Olympics where every participating country included female athletes. It was also the first Olympics in which women competed in all sports in the programme. The 2016 Vodafone Primary Schools Football IDC, which ended at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori yesterday, saw the introduction of two girls teams in the Under-14 competition for the first time. This heralds a breakthrough and augurs well for the development of our women’s football. Undoubtedly they have a long way to go, but the pleasing aspect is they are doing it the right way. At times our development focus is top heavy and we crack when push comes to shove on the international front simply because we failed to do the basics right in the first place. The Rewa U14 girls beat Suva 2-0 in the final and hopefully we can increase the number of teams next year. We applaud Fiji Football, the organising committee, sponsor and parents for their consent for the girls to play.
Sport not only brings people together but is a platform where racial discrimination is put aside and the spirit of unity and teamwork prevails. Sports are vital means to encourage and spread the message of peace, acceptance, fairness, equality and love. Our women are making inroads. Olympics is the limit.
It has been a long and a hard journey to battle the disparity and inequality but they are making inroads in their bid to persevere and shift the power imbalance. Once pushed into sports like netball, volleyball and athletics etc, our women have unlocked and ventured into the once male-only sporting areas.