Despite efforts by the Government to promote gender equality in various areas, women representation in sports leadership positions is still low and more should be done to reverse the trend, the Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi has said.
The premier made the call Wednesday while opening a three-day meeting in Kigali under the banner ‘Advancing Women in Leadership Forum for Africa and Asia’.
The forum, organised by the International Olympic Committees (IOC), brings together over 200 women and men sportspersons from across Africa and Asia and sought to help empower women leaders who are involved with various sports federations in their respective countries, according to Julienne Uwacu, the Minister for Sports and Culture.
She said the forum provided an opportunity for experience sharing among participants.
Rwanda was chosen to host the forum because it is a world leader in having the highest number of women in parliament (64 per cent) and has demonstrated political will to promote the participation of women in sports, according to organisers.
Premier Murekezi said that, despite the fact that Rwanda has done a lot in promoting gender equality and sports, there are still gaps in representation of women in sports leadership.
Women constitute 42.8 per cent in Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee and only 16 per cent in the National Sports Federations.
The Constitution provides for a minimum of 30 per cent of women representation in all leadership levels in Rwanda.
“Rwanda actually shares the same situation with other countries, especially African and Asian nations. Indeed, despite all efforts that we made to increase the number of women in governing sports bodies, we still experience inequalities between women and men in the world of sports,” he said
Quoting 2017 figures released by the International Olympic Committee, he said women represent only 17 per cent of members of the National Olympic Committee General Assemblies and 20.7 per cent of Executive Board members.
“This has to change. Women do not deserve this poor treatment. The world has changed. Men and women have to be treated equal in all domains,” he added.
The PM added: “Rwanda, with its commitment to international engagements, is ready to implement your recommendations.”
The IOC was created more than a century ago with the goal of making a contribution toward building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind, and harnessing the power of sport at the service of humanity.
Sport has played a central role in Rwanda’s reconciliation efforts following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It has also helped advance other national causes such as fight against HIV/Aids, domestic violence, poverty, among others.