On July 4th 2019, the French Embassy organized an event themed « Women in sports: Inequalities, obstacles and reasons for hope » at Alliance Française. This event was a great opportunity to discuss issues regarding women’s sports.
Renowned guests to tackle a fundamental issue
A representative of the French Embassy recalled France’s commitment in promoting gender equality through sports development. The screening of a documentary on Women’s football in India permitted the introduction of some relevant issues such as position of women in sports, women’s potential in sports and obstacles that prevent their advancement in sports. Three panelists were given the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions regarding women in sports. Among them were, Madam Joyce Mahama, the President of Women in Sports Association of Ghana (WOSPAG), Eric Adoku, Activities Coordinator for Dunk Grassroots, an NGO aimed at empowering girls in underprivileged communities through sports (with future support of the French Embassy) and AmeleyTurkson, former boxer and acting head of Amateur Boxing Referees/Judges in Ghana. The discussion was moderated by Juliet Bawuah, sports journalist and founder of “Africa Women’s Sports Summit”, an event which took place this year and addressed issues regarding women’s place in the sports sector.
Deep topics discussed
During the discussion, the three panelists addressed different topics that led to an engaging discussion. The discussion first identified some obstacles that women face in the practice of sports (which is an image of what they are living in the society) and then suggested ways of solving them. Joyce Mahama, the WOSPAG president proposed the change of attitudes and mentalities, indicating that women should be given notable roles in Sport institutions: “We need to have more women holding important positions. In federations there are only men”. She said. AmeleyTurkson added, that with regards to education: “Women in sports: we need education, that’s all”. The discussion also focused on the need to do away with gender distinction in sports: “We are talking about Football, not only men or women football but only Football” stressed Juliet Bawuah.
At the end, possible remedies were discussed and the panelists also shared their experiences and aspirations. The audience also took part in the discussion, i.e. members of the civil society, such as : Right to Play, Care and Action for mental Health (supported by the Embassy in its Inclusion project to aid people with mental illness through sports) and sports specialized companies such as Decathlon.
Juliet Bawuah also invited the audience to go to the stadiums and arenas where women play high-level sports to support them in order to make them exist in the media and in the public policies of sport.
Sports and Gender: Important issues for the French Embassy
The Women’s World Cup organized in France (June 7th-July 7th) has permitted to turn the spotlight on women in sports and to show that this is an important issue for France. This was also an opportunity to discuss two themes which are part of the strategic vision of France in Ghana: Obstacles confronting Women in sports and more broadly on gender equality issues.
Indeed, it’s not the first time that the Embassy of France in Ghana is engaging in sports diplomacy and promotion of sports but also in the area of gender equality, a major focus of the Franco-Ghanaian cooperation.