The International Working Group (IWG), which will be hosting a world conference in Botswana in 2018, has appointed four Botswana netball players as its ambassadors.
The ladies went to Singapore to play in that country’s Netball Super League. The four Batswana ladies – Valet Oneile, Letang Mogotlhwane, Hilda Langi and Sarona Hans – are charged with making sure that Singapore understands about IWG, and help bring Singapore on board to be one of the IWG signatories.
When bidding the players farewell, the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Patron, and Assistant Minister of Local Government, Botlogile Tshireletso, urged the ladies to make sure that they work hard despite all odds in order to be successful in what they do and raise the Botswana flag high. Having been recognised for her immense contribution in sport, Tshireletso gave an example of herself, saying she is one person who never waits to be told that she is doing well. She congratulates herself when she sees that she has indeed achieved something.
“People will always have different things to say about you, so it is up to you to make sure that you become your biggest cheerleader,” Tshireletso said.
With the IWG rallying behind them, BONA became the first local sporting code to sign the declaration of the Brighton Plus Helsinki, becoming the second signatory from Botswana after Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) which signed in 1998, bringing the total number of IWG signatories in the world to 421. The secretary general for the IWG office in Botswana, Game Mothibi, expressed in delight that since the group deals with the welfare of women in sport around the world, it was only befitting that BONA becomes the first sporting code to sign since the sport is mostly about ladies. She said that by signing this declaration it is up to them to commit and uphold the principles and values espoused in the declaration, the main being to advance the participation of women in sport and affirm their commitment to gender equality and the 10 principles set forth by the declaration.
BONA president Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego brashly talked about the stereotypes that exist in sport leadership, and even within the female athletes themselves. She noted that netball is not yet an Olympic sport though it is one of the most popular female sports, and that as women in sport leadership and female athletes they are forced to work 10 times as hard in order to be recognised as capable and at the same level with men.
“There are stereotypes and inequality everywhere, even in how the athletes get paid, all the top ten most paid athletes are males,” she said.
She made reference into the fact that the highest paid woman in sport is Maria Sharapova who ranks at number 34 in the world, while his male counterpart Rodger Federer is 3rd and earns three times as high though they play the same sport, and at the same level.
Lebotse-Sebego encouraged women to make sure that they work hard and bring results in everything that they do since they are capable of achieving even greater results than men. Though many women play sports around the world and succeed at what they do, the amount of coverage can hardly surpass that of men. Lebotse-Sebego said it is time things are changed a little bit, urging local media to support women.