I’ve become more interested and passionate about leadership months after enrolling for a master’s degree course in Organisational Leadership and Governance at the University of Ghana Business School. This partly led me to keenly follow the 2022 Africa Women’s Sports Summit (AWSS) in Accra, which among edifying topics, focused on leadership in African sports from women’s perspective.
I was impressed with the discussants’ viewpoints on various subjects, the audience’s interactivity and developments at the summit. The participants were administrators from various sporting disciplines and women sports journalists. I missed the two previous editions of the summit but my close interest this time has given me finer insights into the inexhaustible experiences of women in sports on the continent vis-à-vis leadership.
Not resting on laurels was the pivot of Second Lady, Hajia Samira Bawumia’s message, which departed from the boring long talk speakers from the political class give at such gatherings. Samira Bawumia’s speech was straight to the point. It focused partly on the achievements of sports women in Africa and why more women should be encouraged in any sporting discipline they find themselves.
She congratulated Hasaacas Ladies’ Evelyn Badu for her recent CAF awards; South Africa’s Banyana Banyana for their 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations title win as well as Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan’s 100-metre hurdles feat at the World Championships. The Second Lady, therefore, urged women in sports to relentlessly pursue excellence.
Women in sports face challenges – unjustifiable, gender-related abuse in most cases. Broadcast Journalist and AWSS Founder, Juliet Bawuah deserve commendation for going beyond just reporting and interpreting news for her audience to boldly create a useful platform with the AWSS summit to lead, educate and encourage sports women that, anything they aspire is achievable with knowledge, discipline and perseverance.
Calls to remove artificial barriers to opportunities for sports women are as necessary as the counsel to sports women to Be the Change. Both are instructive. So vital for me is the “wider subject of leadership in sports in Africa” and the need to build fine, “stronger institutions” for sports development and roles played by women clearly seen.
Sports women have to take their rightful place, whether it’s in administration, coaching, marketing, medicine or media. They don’t have to be hindered. We don’t have to put impediments their pursuit of ambitions in the sports sector. Women need not be their own enemies too, undermining others who’ve taken prominent, front-roll seats.
The enlightened panel; Lawyer and CAF Match Commissioner, Naa Odofoley Nortey; Chief Executive Officer of Tanzania’s Simba Sports Club, Barbara Gonzalez; and South African journalist, Thato Moeng of SuperSport, who were quizzed by the endearing host, Miriam Osei-Agyeman, stressed the need for women to support women.
Paying rapt attention to the conversations, my takeaway is Thato Moeng’s closing remarks on being intentional in life; the media’s gate-keeping role, and, research.
Being intentional is being deliberate with choices and plans. For women in sports, as journalists and of course, society’s leaders, this advice is imperative to making desired impact. Research leads to discovering information to provide solutions to problems. For the media, our gatekeeping role must be played well to provide right environment for sports development.
By Jerome Otchere, Journalist / Football Writer