We are rugby Players too!
Change is a process, not an event. Yesterday I was called up to help co-host the National Rugby League Awards. This is a first for me, and I was very excited at the prospect. I had to go for a dry run, to get in touch with my fellow MC, who will carry the bulk of the night’s duty. He is after all a man. It seems I was called up so a female voice could break the dominance of the male setting, standing beside him and looking pretty for the cameras. Nevertheless, this is an opportunity that I was willing to make the best of.(Thank you web 2.0, that’s how they found me). Going through the list of winners, I realised the men’s National team, the Sables, and men form the top eight rugby teams were the award recipients. I asked, and was informed that the sponsors do not sponsor the ladies and the second teams. This was a blatant show of conservatism in the sponsor’s corporate social responsibility policy, a reflection of most organisations in the country. It seems in sport women provide entertainment for the men, never taken seriously. It is safer for any organisation in Zimbabwe to invest in male dominated sports and women are barely considered. Even if I wanted to try and change these prejudices and attitudes towards women, I lack skill and training to begin to run with a reasonable and effective change schedule. There is also a great lack of infrastructural support for change to happen. Zimbabweans are very good at protecting the status quo, especially where it serves self interest. Some people benefit from such arrangements, and because they are more concerned over their basic needs, development of the sport and acceptance of women becomes a distant goal, never to be achieved.
Education and communication facilitate change. I applied for a sports administration course, hoping ,if accepted, I can actively get into administration and work towards positive change o of the structures. This level of participation and involvement is necessary for any progress towards change; enabling support of programmes aimed at empowering women. There have been others before me, Judith Chiyangwa, was the vice President of the National Rugby Union -2010,setting the pace for change and facilitated involvement of one of the country’s largest banks in women’s rugby.
As I write this assignment, I am sure there is someone out there now knows our story and will now take an active interest in it. Online communities make other aware of women who need change and in those communities; people can offer solutions to overcoming these challenges. This should improve the position of women in my rugby circles, as well as the community as a whole. I am sure the other pulses will help organise and articulate my concerns over the women’s rugby league and its development in Zimbabwe.