Rebecca Magoma. Photo Credit: FKF
Kenya hosted the first ever Symposium on Women, Sport and Development in Kenya on Monday, September 4, at the Hilton Hotel with the aim of sharing opinions, ideas, challenges and opportunities in and around the female side of sports as well as to evoke discussions on equal opportunities for both men and women in sports in Kenya, for the present and future.
At the symposium organized by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) which brought together women administrators and other stakeholders in the country, women were urged to vie for positions in national and continental sports federations and associations so that they can be at the forefront in pushing the growth of women sports.
It was observed that countable number of women have taken elective roles in federations thus the issue of gender parity in the country.
United Nations (UN) Athlete Peace Ambassador, Tegla Loroupe called on girls and women in sports to balance their academics and sports to reap well either as players, administrators or managers.
“Filling the gap is not enough, but we women must make people feel our presence when we step in the void,” said Loroupe.
FKF Deputy President Doris Petra said the federation has put in mechanisms to empower women in sports.
She pointed out that the federation is currently offering free training to players, referees, coaches and administrators.
“There is a future after active playing of football and as such we are empowering our players for a better life after retiring,” said Petra.
Petra however admitted that women make a lot of sacrifices but she encouraged them to embrace sports administration and management roles.
Nairobi Woman representative in the National Assembly Esther Passaris, vowed to support women sports adding that she will do everything to uplift women sports in the country.
“It has been a learning curve for me and now, more than ever I am more informed about the plight of women in sports. I will do everything I can uplift women’s sports.”
Other topics discussed during the symposium included teams and leagues’ sponsorship, partnerships and media roles in developing women sports.
Women’s football has been hit big owing to lack of sponsorship and stakeholders in the field were urged to take the initiative since sponsors look for sustainability.
From the FIFA funding, at least 15% must be dedicated to women’s football but FKF has allocated 37%.
The allocation caters to paying for stadia on match days, ambulances and referee levies.
Men were encouraged to be part of the brigade empowering women whom they see to have potential in sports either as players, administrators or role models.
The Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (ICFG) of the University of Bern, Switzerland representatives were also present.