20 January 2013

Rwanda: Women Empowerment in Sports Is Vital


I'm not a sexist when I say that women empowerment in sports is vital. In the last decades we have seen women embracing sports fields although the numbers have still low the development is gradual and steady.

AS Kigali player and officials celebrate winning the 2011 national women soocer league, which has struggled to gain nationwide recognition. Sunday Sport / File.

Its worrying that Rwanda being a country with the highest number of female parliamentarians in the world, there is nothing to write home about its ladies national football team.

I'm focusing on football mainly because it's the country's most popular sport.

In Rwanda just like many other countries, the men's domain in the sports is given more hype and exposure compared to women's football.

Thanks to my professional, in 2010, I was privileged to cover the Women football league game between AS Kigali Women football team and APR women team at Kicukiro grounds, the game was full of energy, the rain fell but the game continued to the final whistle.

Immediately after the game, the Men's football league game between SC Kiyovu and Mukura FC kicked off.

The one thing that puzzled me was how chairs for the male counterparts such as substitutes and the coaching team where paraded yet during the women's league game the substitutes and the coaching team stood throughout the game.

I asked myself why the men were given such treatment yet it is said that women are the most vulnerable.

The above example is one of the many that show women sports, isn't given the due attention it deserve.

Development of women's football mostly in Africa faces several challenges as a result of the mentality that it's a man's game but women have the power to change this kind of misconception.

Through empowerment, we can be able to fight the vices involved in gender stereotypes and discrimination even in the sports fraternity.

Just like Rwanda has been able to empower women in Agriculture and several other growing sectors, I believe even empowerment in sports is justifiable given that the returns are amicable and beneficial to many.

Therefore women advocates and well-wishers should come up and support women initiatives in the sports discipline and I believe we will have record makers.

If all goes well, Rwanda could have the established sports women like Marta Vieira Da Silva who has won FIFA World Player of the Year five consecutive times.

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