By SANDRA MWILA –
NATIONAL Organisation for Women in Sport Physical Activity and Recreation (NOWSPAR) executive director, Matildah Mwaba has described 2013 as a bittersweet year for women sports.
Mwaba, however, said women sport had not improved but that there was increased media coverage.
While appreciating that the Women Under-17 football team qualified to the World Cup to be played in Costa Rica this year, Mwaba stated that the fine ending added some sweetness to the year for women sport.
“As NOWSPAR, we are not confident to say that women sport has improved but the coverage by the media, because we were well informed of both loses and gains compared to the past years,” she said.
Mwaba said inadequate funding for women’s sporting events led to the slow growth of women sport in the country, highlighting the Zambia Under-20 women team’s failure to progress in the World Cup qualifers.
He also challenged women to get rid of gender stereotypes and take the challenge in participating in sports leadership.
Despite the hardships faced in 2013, NOWSPAR has acknowledged some of the achievements made which Mwaba said could be built on.
“There are teams and individuals that have put women sports on the map, looking at the performance of the Under-17 football team that qualified to the World Cup in Costa Rica,and Catherine Phiri who won the African Boxing Union bantamweight championship,” she said.
Mwaba said that women in sport were determined and had the ability to improve if they worked extra hard because they had already exhibited potential of developing in various sports disciplines.
She said her organisation had in 2013 worked with clubs at grassroots supporting gender initiatives in various sports associations to help absorb gender mainstreaming.
Mwaba thanked the Government, Norwegian Olympic Committee, Woman Win, Anita White Foundation and Sports for Change Network that supported and contributed financially to their programmes.