African women sports professionals have been encouraged to take up positions of influence, and help shape policies and influence decisions that affect their growth of the industry.
“The change that Africa sports needs is for us women to endeavour to have a front seat at the table and ensure our issues are central to the discussion.”
These were remarks made by the Second Lady Madam Samira Bawumia at the third edition of the African Women Sports Summit (AWSS) held at the Accra International Conference Centre yesterday on the theme: “Be the Change”, which focuses on sports leadership in Africa and building stronger institutions.
Madam Bawumia, who was the Special Guest of Honour, noted that the African woman sports professional, whether active or retired, has a part to play in establishing roles, procedures, and standards which culminates in the execution of critical functions in critical sectors of daily life and economies where they find themselves.
“Sports as a field, and by extension, a career path chosen by many women, goes a long way to impact generations, both male and female. The transfer of knowledge and relevant skills and tenets, by major actors in the field of sports, especially women, conveys the deep conviction that it is possible to succeed in a viable endeavour.”
According to her, women at the height of their sports careers also provide direct or indirect mentorship to the younger generation of women, in reaching for the highest standards of their profession and practice, adding that, “African woman in sports cannot begin to inspire change in their respective fields without strong institutions which they ought to be part of in building.”
To this end she called on African women in sports to grab all right opportunities that come their way and help cause the change that is desired.
Founder of the AWSS, Ms Juliet Bawuah, in her welcome address noted that it had been an incredible and exciting journey so far in gathering great minds to deliberate on the issues that matter to the African woman in sports.
“AWSS has become an important tool to help focus energies on ensuring that Africa’s sports institutions are built on leadership that inspires and gets results.”
“Three years ago, we set out to present a platform for mentorship, training and greater female inclusion in the African sports scene and within the period we have mentored over 5,000 young women and established African women in sports through our special speaker sessions and Bootcamp, one of which was led by the Secretary General of FIFA, Madam FatmaSamoura in 2020, providing sporting equipment to the Assamensudu Bayern Munich lower tier football club in the Western Region of Ghana, owned and coached by Madam Patience Aggrey.”
Furthermore, she noted that they had also aided over a dozen African women in sports through referral opportunities with partner organisations and in the coming years, they hope to institute an online school dedicated to various areas of interest from sports leadership, business, sports medicine and journalism, while looking forward to starting an internship placement drive.
“The goal is to get a decent number of African women in sports employment ready every year,” she added.
The special speaker sessions saw legal practitioner and CAF Match Commissioner, Naa Odofoley Nortey, tasking women in the sporting industry to be very supportive of each other’s dreams rather than pulling each other down or trying to outdo each other.
She noted that those who are seen to have made it in the industry did so through support, hard work “and by same dint of hard work, one can also get there.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Tanzania football giants Simba SC, Barbara Gonzalez and SuperSport TV broadcaster Thato Moeng, both called on women in the industry “to be patient, dedicated, focused and committed while fighting to get what must be done to be done and done through the right channel.”
“Trust me, perseverance is one other hallmarks to success in this industry of ours, and that is one thing that should guide you all in here,” Moeng added.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY
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