Women in sports

Lavena Cavuru on attack for Fijiana against Samoa during the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship at Churchill Park in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

Women in sports face one of their challenging periods in the face of the COVID-19 restrictions and the rise in the spate of abuse happening in Fiji and around the world.

The Women in Sports Commission (WISC) works with the Fiji Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) Strategic Plan (2017-2020) to help women and girls engage in sports.

The chairperson is former national tennis rep, Hamidan Bibi.

“The challenges and issues faced by women and girls across sectors, including sports, have been relevant as it had been in the past,” Bibi said.

“The work of many sporting organisations is an ongoing effort with limited resources in way of funding, manpower and mechanisms.

“As organisations continue their effort to remain alive during the current COVID-19 situation and its long-term impact, it is likely that their resources may be redirected to serve other urgent needs.

“The commission is urging sporting bodies to reflect on how gender and diversity issues could be revisited so that it remains as part of their programs.

“Sporting bodies could look at their committees to see if there is a need for more women and girls to participate at various levels, administration, leadership, technical and engagement in various sports.

“They could revisit their strategic plans and activities to see whether there is a need to include more programs that would help enhance gender equality and diversity issues.”

She said more attention were needed to prevent the abuse of women and girls.

“With the recent increase in gender-based violence, which affect both women and girls, and men and boys, sporting bodies could think of activities and programs that could tackle these issues as many of these individuals may also be an active member of a sporting body at either community, local or national level.

“Counselling, mentoring and empowerment programs may also be needed to ensure affected individuals and or communities are better served.

“With the current ongoing COVID situation, one may not need to attend workshops or formal education to understand gender-based violence, leadership skills, gender equality and diversity, gender and social inclusion issues.”

Bibi said WISC would continue to look at ways to help women in sports.

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