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Advancing women in sports leadership

Published: 
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

One person told me to my face that my belief that women will play the most significant role in global development in the future is baloney.

I have also been told it goes against religious and societal norms and values.

I am committed to driving strategic change for women in sport including ensuring that all TTOC (Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee) publications, presentations and communications are gender neutral and that TTOC policies empower and grow sustainable women and girls’ participation in sport - including establishing targeted leadership development programmes to identify and support the current and next generation of female leaders.

Gendered assumptions on leadership, masculinity, femininity and power are a barrier for women and girls in sport. We need to increase women participation in sport governance, leadership and management. We need to change the patriarchal landscape of sport.

We have to remove the barriers and structures that place women and girls at a disadvantage.

Three TTOC events in the past week had gender equality and driving forward a more inclusive culture in the Olympic and Commonwealth Sport movement in T&T and the Caribbean as the focus of attention.

A three-day workshop focusing on the use of the Zeus software programme began the week at Olympic House.

21 participants (14 women and 7 men) from around the Caribbean braved the hurricane season to attend the workshop moderated by Ellen Barwise of the Commonwealth Games Foundation (CGF) and Gail Craig-Archer of the Barbados Olympic Association.

On Thursday and Friday (21-22 September) the TTOC in collaboration with UNESCO and TAFISA hosted a workshop - Achieving social inclusion and gender equality in the Caribbean using sports and physical activity. The aim of this workshop was to build awareness on gender equality in sports and sport as a tool for social inclusion, community building and civic engagement.

And to close the TTOC’s week of championing gender equality on Saturday September 23 the TTOC held its first ever Advancing Women in Leadership Forum at the National Racquet Centre, Tacarigua for the historic gathering.

There are those who are happy to provide reasons why gender equality creates more problems than solutions. Who will have you believe that women are their own worse enemy and no one really wants to break down turn centuries of socialization.

The critics of gender equality and parity have often argued that it just isn’t worth the time and effort as progress may appear slow and tortured.

However, that the war maybe long and drawn out is not an excuse. Advancing Women in Leadership will make a transformational difference.

Those who resist believe they have good reason to do so. They point to many examples that support their view.

That at times it’s women who express the view that it’s a waste of time says more about their own mindset and attitude.

It isn’t sad. It’s just the raw reality of the culture that is deeply engrained in many societies around the world.

Why should Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean be any different.

But fear not. The war will be won. Gender equality and parity will be a reality.