Final December, Beatrice Ayikoru expressed her concern that solely six of 51 presidents or secretaries-general of Uganda’s sports activities federations affiliated to the nation’s Nationwide Sports activities Council had been girls.
Ayikoru, who was not too long ago elected Uganda’s Olympic Committee secretary-general, stated regardless of a roadmap on girls’s empowerment launched within the Nineties, the street to gender parity in Uganda has develop into rocky and uneven.
Elected to the highly effective World Athletics Council at its 2019 Doha Congress, Ayikoru, 50, plans to champion a sequence of workshops to offer younger girls and ladies the boldness to take up management positions and likewise have interaction as technical officers and coaches in Africa.
In an unique Worldwide Ladies’s Day interview with Nation Sport, Ayikoru says she, like different girls, has needed to work “200 p.c” to get to the identical wavelength as her male counterparts.
She says, via the World Athletics Gender Management Taskforce – headed by the federation’s Vice-President Ximena Restrepo of Colombia – along with the Confederation of African Athletics, programmes will likely be formulated to assist nurture the abilities of feminine athletes, directors and technical officers.
“Now we have many challenges with the women. Their drop-out charge may be very excessive due to many components, together with the truth that lots of them take a look at sports activities as a way of survival and neglect about schooling.
“We have to make it possible for these ladies do not drop out of faculty as a result of they need to become profitable out of working. They need to construct a twin profession as a result of as soon as the woman is at school, she will last more than when she’s out of faculty.
“We additionally want to take a look at conventional settings as a result of when the woman is 15 and goes out for a world competitors, when she comes again residence there is a man ready to marry her off and the mother and father permit this to occur.”
Ayikoru says such points result in feminine athletes ending their sports activities careers sooner than normal.
“There are ladies who ran with athletes like Eliud Kipchoge… the place are they now? Many are grandmothers and Eliud remains to be working!
“We should deal with these situation along with governments to see how these ladies will be helped.
“We’re planning to carry some seminars as a part of the celebrations across the World Beneath-20 Championships in Nairobi,” she defined.
However Ayikoru is glad that, usually talking, the efficiency of ladies athletes in Uganda, and Africa as an entire, has improved quite a bit in latest occasions, each in competitors and officiating.
“We’re in a position to see extra girls as coaches throughout the nation and likewise improved participation by way of the standard of athletes at world occasions.
“Now we have seen Ugandan athletes getting onto the rostrum whereas in international locations like Ethiopia and Kenya, the ladies truly carry extra medals and males.
“We’re additionally seeing extra girls get into management in nationwide federations. All that is on account of girls inspiring extra girls to return up.
“The reforms at World Athletics are speculated to cascade right down to the nationwide federations in order that we’ve got a 50-50 illustration. However every federation has its personal method of attaining this goal.”
Ayikoru is anxious that there are only a few girls officiating as technical officers in competitions, a scenario she needs modified.
“While you go to stadiums, you do not see the ladies! They’re both within the name room checking the bibs of athletes… they don’t seem to be within the frontline.
“We wish to see these girls within the frontline and for us to attain this, we’d like a quota system, having the identical variety of girls as males.
“However this needs to be gradual as a result of to be a technical official, it’s the competence and the expertise, and we’re specializing in encouraging member federations to organise technical programs for girls and out of those pool, get those that could be eligible for Stage Two and Stage Three, and that can solely be when the numbers are there.”
Ayikoru’s rise to the highest in a male dominated subject of sport hasn’t been straightforward. She says she has been pushed by ardour and the thirst for information.
“Initially you could have a ardour for sport. Then you’ll go additional and acquire information and abilities,” she says.
“One of many issues that has helped me is I’ve tried my finest to study athletics, have the information and abilities, and that makes it’s kind of straightforward.
“We girls are at all times let down by the home gender roles that we play in society.
“You could know how one can multi-task, handle your loved ones and sport and that is the one method you’ll be able to succeed.
“Ladies generally should do 200 p.c whereas a person can go with 10 p.c… As a girl, it’s important to show to folks which you can ship.
“I needed to work in direction of doing my finest at no matter project I used to be given.
She believes that if federations have sturdy girls, they may make optimistic steps “as a result of girls are extra resilient than males within the face of challenges.”
Because the world celebrates the Worldwide Ladies’s Day Monday (March 8), Ayikoru says the day means quite a bit.
“It is a day devoted to rejoice the achievement by girls’ together with these in sports activities in selling gender equality and empowerment of ladies.”
Uganda first celebrated the Worldwide Ladies’s Day in 1995 and an enormous change has since been witnessed.
“There is a huge change in management in sports activities.
“For girls to take part as athletes, coaches or officers, they need to see one thing that may entice them and encourage them.
“I see nice enchancment, particularly in Africa the place the ladies are nearly on the similar stage as the boys,” she says.