More than two decades have passed by since the IOC made a clarion call for gender equality in sports governing bodies. In this light, and further to actions already undertaken, IOC, ANOCA and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) jointly organised the maiden Afro-Asian Forum on Women and Sport in Kuwait from 18 to 20 November 2013. That meeting brought together representatives of 98 NOCs of Africa and Asia, as well as delegates from UN agencies, NGOs, IOC, OCA, ANOCA and national and continental federations. Deliberations concluded with a clear promise and active commitment to give women in both continents a more assertive role in sport.
The Kigali come together was thus not just an occasion to size up the ground covered so far in either continent, but also to develop and implement a “strategy for the promotion of women in sport in both continents.” It attracted representatives from 71 NOCs of Africa and Asia with the goal of federating them and other sports stakeholders around the idea of truly empowering the woman in sport in both continents and thus giving them greater representation in sports and Olympic structures. Participants also hoped, through their reflections and exchange of experiences, to contribute in enhancing initiatives and ideas that seek to strengthen the role of the woman in sports governing bodies, women sports economy and the benefits of sports practice for young girls and women.
Moreover, Kigali 2017 came at a time when NOCs are being urged to implement the recommendations of IOC Agenda 2020 which seeks, as of its priorities, to initiate measures aimed at encouraging sports practice amongst women and their inclusion in sports governing bodies. ANOCA and OCA thus hope to materialise, in their member NOCs, the IOC recommendation of 20% women’s representation within NOCs. At this dawn of the 21st century, gender equality should more than ever be visible within NOCs, national sports federations and continental structures.
The meeting issued strong recommendations that will help foster and make gender equality a reality in Africa and Asia.