Women’s in­clu­sion in sport im­por­tant

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - El­lina Mh­langa Sports Re­porter

SPORT and Recre­ation Min­is­ter Makhosini Hlong­wane yes­ter­day un­der­scored the im­por­tance of the in­volve­ment of women in sport.

Hlong­wane was speak­ing at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Women in Sport and Recre­ation Con­fer­ence in Harare.

The con­fer­ence dubbed “Em­pow­er­ing Women Through Sport and Recre­ation,” was or­gan­ised by the Sport and Recre­ation Com­mis­sion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bin­dura Univer­sity Na­tional Sports Academy.

And it at­tracted women from dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing na­tional sport as­so­ci­a­tions and ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions.

Hlong­wane, who was the guest of hon­our, said the Sport and Recre­ation pol­icy adopted last year by Gov­ern­ment talks about the in­clu­sion of women.

“I am cog­nisant that the cur­rent Sport and Recre­ation pol­icy makes spe­cific men­tion of the in­clu­sion of women and the vul­ner­a­ble groups such as the dis­abled.

‘‘This pol­icy state­ment needs to be but­tressed by spe­cific ac­tion pro­grammes. Ladies and gen­tle­men, this con­fer­ence can be one way in which we may be able to come up with spe­cific res­o­lu­tions which can be fol­lowed up with var­i­ous sport de­liv­ery agents to in­clude the Min­istry of Sport and Recre­ation.

“Gov­ern­ment takes very se­ri­ously the in­clu­sion of women and that is why in our Na­tional Sport and Recre­ation Pol­icy we have a whole pri­or­ity area for eq­uity and in­clu­sion.

‘‘And that pri­or­ity area on eq­uity and in­clu­sion speaks to the in­clu­sion of women, the in­te­gra­tion of women in main­stream sport­ing and recre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Now con­crete steps need to be taken to ac­tu­alise the in­ten­tion of gov­ern­ment as cap­tured in this very im­por­tant pol­icy doc­u­ment. And a con­fer­ence such as this one is very im­por­tant. It re­minds you that some of the is­sues that you are go­ing to be dis­cussing about re­late to how con­crete steps can be taken to pro­vide for in­clu­sion of women, eq­ui­table in­volve­ment of women in our sport and recre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties in our coun­try,” Hlong­wane.

The con­fer­ence drew pre­sen­ters with di­verse busi­ness and sport­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to tackle var­i­ous is­sues con­cern­ing women in sport.

Min­istry of Sport and Recre­ation di­rec­tor sport pro­mo­tion and de­vel­op­ment Eu­ge­nia Chid­hakwa spoke about or­gan­i­sa­tion of sport and recre­ation in Zim­babwe where she chal­lenged women to take the lead in en­sur­ing their voices are head. She also spoke about the need to cel­e­brate achieve­ments by women.

Zim­babwe Olympic Com­mit­tee chief ex­ec­u­tive Anna Mguni pre­sented a pa­per on the ben­e­fits of sport and recre­ation and nar­row­ing the dis­crim­i­na­tion gap.

City of Harare act­ing town clerk Josephine Ncube took the par­tic­i­pants through the role of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in pro­mot­ing women in sport and recre­ation.

Debi Jeans, a sports medicine spe­cial­ist and for­mer Judo As­so­ci­a­tion of Zim­babwe pres­i­dent talked about in­jury pre­ven­tion in fe­male ath­letes.

Bin­dura Univer­sity of Science Ed­u­ca­tion vice chan­cel­lor Ed­die Mwenje weighed in to say a level play­ing field for both men and women is the way to go.

“As a univer­sity we acknowledge the im­por­tance of sport in the de­vel­op­ment of a na­tion. We acknowledge that a level play­ing field in sport and recre­ation should be availed to all women and hence the need to re­move bar­ri­ers that hin­der the progress and growth of sport in our na­tion.

“Bin­dura Univer­sity of Science Ed­u­ca­tion has not been left out of the race to em­power women,’’ she said.

Min­is­ter Hlong­wane

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