“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” (5th of the Sustainable Development Goals)
Sport can be a powerful platform for advocacy and awareness raising for gender equality in Africa. It can contribute to abolish all forms of societal and cultural discrimination against women and girls at all levels. At ACYSD, our Power Up Girls® programme is aimed at the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment – both in sport itself and in communities, through sport.
Over and over again, history has taught us that sport is one of the great drivers of gender equality, by teaching women and girls the values of teamwork, self-reliance and resilience. It can provide girls with social connections and a refuge from violence in their homes and communities, and help them to understand their bodies and build confidence and the ability to speak up, particularly during adolescence, when the pressure to conform to traditionally “feminine” stereotypes such as “playing like a girl” or “menstrual periods” leads many girls to abandon sport entirely. Our aim is to remove these roadblocks.
In Africa, as in other parts of the world, sport remains plagued by many of the same gender inequalities that we see more broadly; issues such as unequal pay, gender-based violence, a lack of targeted investment and negative stereotypes and social norms. Sport and sport-based community programmes like our Power Up Girls® in particular are designed to cause positive shifts in gender norms and promote gender equality.
Men and boys can be engaged in achieving gender equality in and through sport. Sport can promote better gender relations and cooperation. Sport is an area in which we can leverage our partnerships and engagement of men and boys to teach everyone that gender-based violence has no place in it, on or off the field, anywhere in our lives and that a future where all playing fields are truly level for all women and girls can be achieved.