DESTROYING THE TOP 10 AFRICAN MYTHS ABOUT WOMEN IN SPORTS
Myth 1: Women’s Empowerment Comes at the Expense of Men
It is a common misunderstanding in many parts of Nigeria that empowering women means men lose out. However, when Nigerian women are given opportunities for education, entrepreneurship, and career choices, they contribute significantly to the economy and the well-being of their households. Women’s empowerment benefits everyone.
Myth 2: Women Can’t Do Sport
Sports should be inclusive and accessible to all. In fact, more women than men participate in sports each week. We advocate for narrowing the gender gap in sports and ensuring that African women have equal access to and benefit from sporting activities, just like men.
Myth 3: Women Crack under Pressure
Let’s take the example of Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, known as the “Iron Lady.” Despite facing challenges and opposition, she fearlessly led her country, proving that women can excel under pressure. Women like her have shown resilience, leadership, and the ability to drive positive change in the face of adversity.
Myth 4: Sport Hinders Childbearing
Engaging in vigorous sports activities does not necessarily affect a woman’s fertility. In fact, staying physically active can improve fertility, particularly for women facing obesity-related challenges. Women can continue their level of sports activities during pregnancy and beyond without hindering their ability to have children.
Myth 5: It’s a Man’s World
Women are occupying significant positions of power and leadership worldwide. From presidents and prime ministers to heads of major financial institutions, women are proving their capabilities and challenging traditional gender roles. As technology continues to level the playing field, qualities associated with women, such as emotional intelligence and collaboration, are increasingly valued in leadership positions.
Myth 6: She Asked for It
Blaming survivors for sexual violence is unacceptable. No one “asks” or deserves to be violated. This myth perpetuates harmful stereotypes, restricts women’s behavior, and shifts the blame from the perpetrators to the victims. Sexual violence is solely the responsibility of the perpetrators, and we must challenge this myth to create a society free from gender-based violence.
Myth 7: Women Can’t Be Trusted with Money
The notion that women are frivolous with money is a baseless stereotype used to oppress women. Financial education is essential for all women, and when equipped with the right knowledge, women can make sound financial decisions that benefit themselves, their families, and their communities.
Myth 8: A Woman’s Health is not a Man’s Concern
Menstruation and pregnancy are natural aspects of women’s lives and should not be stigmatized or isolated. Harmful customs like isolating women during menstruation or after childbirth have severe consequences for women’s health and the well-being of their families. Women’s health is a shared concern that impacts the entire community.
Myth 9: Women Belong to Marriage, Not School
Child marriage deprives girls of their rights, education, and future prospects. Investing in girls’ education is crucial for poverty reduction and overall development. Girls have the same right to education as boys and should not be forced into early marriages.
Myth 10: A Woman’s Place is in the Home
A woman’s place is wherever she chooses to be, based on her individual aspirations, talents, and goals. Women are not possessions but equal human beings deserving of freedom and equal opportunities. Each woman has the right to determine her own path in life, unrestricted by societal expectations or norms.
By debunking these myths and challenging gender stereotypes, we can create a more inclusive, equitable, and empowered society for women in Africa and beyond. Together, let’s celebrate and support women in sports and all areas of life.