Only three women are contesting in the Tanzania Olympic Committee’s election scheduled for December 8 in Dodoma.
The rest of the election candidates are men despite a call made by stakeholders to inspire women in contesting sports organisation’s posts.
The interviews for the TOC election candidates have been held in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar since early this week.
Sports administrators in the country have been asked to create environments which can enable many women to compete for various posts at national sports associations or at the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC)
The call was made following a low number of women aspiring for various posts at the December 8 TOC general election.
According to a final release of the poll’s Mainland Tanzania candidates, out of the 24 only three are women.
They are Irene Jackson Mwasanga, Noreen Shariff and Lina Paul Kessy who are aspiring for the TOC executive committee members’ posts.
Speaking in separate interviews, former Boxing Federation of Tanzania (BFT) chairperson Juan Minja, Tanzania Swimming Association (TSA) secretary general Noel Kiunsi and BFT secretary general Mashaga Makore said women should be empowered so that they can compete at national sports associations’ posts.
Minja, who resigned from her post as BFT chairperson during the early days of her term, said there is a need for capacity building to empower women so that they can compete at any election.
She said the country has many sports loving women who are competent and capable enough to lead sports associations but they are put off by the way sports are run in the country.
She also said most women are discouraged by some quarters of the society who still believes in the old way that women are incapable of leading any group.
“Many sporting events happen at night and weekends when women are supposed to be at home with their families. This must be changed or women must be educated on this, otherwise things will never change,” she said.
Lack of many women leaders at national sports associations shatters ladies from contesting as they worry over men’s domination in leadership.
TSA’s Kiunsi said the problem with women is they are not encouraged to participate in sports development and also majority of them do not support each other.
“One of the reason why many women did not aspire for any of the TOC post is inferiority complex among them. They always think they will loose as they lack support from each other. Instead they are discouraging themselves. However, once encouraged they might do better than men,” he said.
Makore said backgrounds of the national sports associations and that of TOC are factors behind sidelining women from competing for any post.
He said time has now come for sports administrators to educate women on the need to take sports leadership post.
“Time will come when women will lead our sports bodies and associations, but our leaders must first educate women on the importance of holding positions in sports bodies,” he said.
The incumbent TOC secretary general Filbert Bayi said though his committee has a women desk, the number of women competing for posts at any sport association has been very low. There is a need to encourage women to aspire for sports leadership posts.
TOC women desk officer Nasra Juma could not be reached for her comment as she was reported to be in Mbeya attending family commitments.
Though the country has very few women aspiring for TOC posts, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opens room for them.
Besides women oriented associations in the likes of netball and football, the rest of sports associations are run by men while national tennis association has a man as its leader with the only woman Inger Njau as a secretary general.
The IOC mission and role number 7 clearly states that it encourages and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with the view to implement the principle of gender equality.
“The impact of sports on the lives of women and girls goes beyond social integration and health benefits, by engaging in activities that have traditionally been closed to them.
Women can also create a new social status and re-assert their identity in the society”, said IOC president Jacques Rosse in his paper titled "The contribution of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the Millennium Development Goals.”