LNOC pushes gender equality

LNOC pushes gender equality

MASERU – The Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) has urged all its stakeholders – from clubs to media – to work together to reach its goal of women making up 50 percent of participants in local sport by 2024.
The plea was led by LNOC president ‘Matlohang Moiloa-Ramopoqo during a two-day seminar held last weekend at Aloes Guest House in Maseru as part of the LNOC’s ‘Long-Term Strategic Plan 2017-2024’.

At the core of the strategic plan’s objectives is the intent to encourage gender equality and promote zero tolerance when it comes to gender-based violence. Signed off by all 28 LNOC member associations, the manifesto which was introduced at the start of 2017 and runs for the next seven years aims to use sport as a tool to foster gender equality.

Addressing guests at the seminar, Moiloa-Ramopoqo said while the participation of women in sports had improved since 1998 when efforts to focus on women were intensified, it is far from where the LNOC wants it to be.
The conference was attended by representatives from associations, clubs, government, non-governmental organisations, media and other stakeholders.

“We should have policies that address women in sports,” Moiloa-Ramopoqo said. “Women are still rare in our sports but some countries like Australia give women grants and leadership workshops.”
Moiloa-Ramopoqo also called for more research into the development of women sports and lamented a lack of continuity in government which she said stalls policies.

“The constant change in government is also affecting sports in the country in a negative way because we make agreements with the government and after few months a new regime comes in,” she said.
Speaking at the same seminar, ‘Matau Futho Letsatsi, the director of gender at the ministry of sports, called for women to be given a fair share when it comes to budgets and support in sports.

“It seems as though women do not matter in our country because they are in the majority in our society but still do not get (their) fair share,” she complained. The conference also touched on the ever-present societal concerns over HIV/AIDS and UNAIDS representative Alti Zondo called sports a vehicle to educate people about HIV AIDS and other diseases.

“Most people do not know about their HIV/AIDS status so women, with their power and energy to persuade, can pass the message through sports,” she said. Zondo added: “One of the fundamental goals of the Olympics is to place sports at the service of the harmonious development (of the community) with a view to promote a peaceful society.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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