During the African “Women and sport” Forum on 18 January 2015, many dignitaries, sportsmen and women and administrators took to the rostrum to express their points of view on the integration of women in sports in Africa. Excerpts….
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algerian Head of State: “Representatives of African NOCs and icons of women’s sport convened to this meeting aspire to make this forum a platform to assert the major role of women in our continent and in the world by heightening awareness within sports institutions and structures and in various other areas, sustained by the furtherance of fair competition and the values of tolerance and responsible dialogue in order to put an end to the violence and brutality that mar the end of many sports encounters, not only in Africa but throughout the world… Your choice of Algeria as venue for your meeting further heightens our esteem for you since, in so doing, you contribute in highlighting the place and role of the Algerian woman in Africa in particular and the world at large.”
Intendant General Lassana Palenfo, ANOCA President: “We are always delighted each time we see Algeria’s resolve to push for the emancipation of sportswomen. Algeria is really a model in this area, especially as concerns gender equality. This is epitomised by the large number of women in elected assemblies, which naturally plays on the position of women in the society in general and the sports world in particular. Algeria counts among the first 30 nations where the woman has a privileged place.”
Beatrice Allen, IOC member and Chair of the ANOCA “Women and Sport” Commission: “One of the most efficient ways to promote the integration of women in sport is to elect them into Executive Committees of National Federations. Thence, they could proceed to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC)… The IOC quota system has been very efficient in bringing women into sports. One of the missions of the IOC is to encourage and support women’s empowerment in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of gender equality.”
Hassiba Boulmerka (Algeria) 1500m Olympic gold medallist 1992: “After my outstanding Olympic performance, Benida Merrah invited another 1500m Olympic medallist and I. Since then, investment in women’s sport has stepped up considerably.”
Anita De Frantz, IOC member: “The International Olympic Committee has recognised everybody’s right to practise sports. I was able to do it only in the university. Times have changed. IOC plans to have over 20% of women in the various bodies.”
Meriem Cherni Mizouni,(Tunisia) winner, IOC World “Women and sport” trophy in 2011: “Thanks to my recognition, I received an allowance from the Olympic governing body, which I have set aside for the furtherance of women’s sport in Tunisia. My action focuses on two main areas: going to remote areas to ascertain the needs of sportswomen in order to provide them with necessary materials and encourage federations which are active in promoting women’s sport.”
Nezha Bidouane (Morocco), World Champion 400m hurdles in 1997 and 2001: “In Morocco, like in Algeria, there is a clear political will to give women an indispensable role. It is impossible to meet the goals and aspirations of African sports women without putting in place appropriate legal levers, taking into consideration the peculiarities of each part of the continent.”