Minister Marais prioritises safety and dignity plan for women in sport
As we commemorate National Women’s Month, we understand that the plight of women and the girl child is not only bound to the month of August. The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown regulations exacerbated this plight and once again highlighted the urgency with which we, as a whole of society, are to redress its root causes, not only its symptoms 365 days a year.
This collaborative effort is needed to progress gender equality as a human right to empower women but more importantly to stop the marginalization of women and girls through accepted societal norms.
Since sworn in, Minister Anroux Marais has prioritized advancing the agenda of women in sport through the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS). In 2019, Minister Marais addressed affiliated federations, through the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation’s Women’s Commission and the DCAS Women’s Desk, calling for a Safety and Dignity Plan to be incorporated into a Western Cape Women in Sport Policy, the first of its kind in South Africa. Following the various engagements with these valued stakeholders, each federation, and by extension local clubs on grassroots level, was tasked with including Women in Sport programmes to their respective annual plans and providing inputs on a simple 10-point-plan of action to create a more enabling environment for women and girls to participate in sport across the province and at higher levels of performance.
While these engagements initially gained momentum to achieve our collaborative desired outcomes, COVID-19 and the national lockdown regulations delayed its progress. However, as we contain, adapt and recover in the Western Cape, the DCAS has remained committed to our gender equity priority and proactively responded to the unprecedented circumstances with innovative solutions.
Throughout the pandemic, Minister Marais has kept the lines of communication open as DCAS hosted various virtual and hybrid engagements to boost our support to federations and to increase their resilience during this difficult time. The Programmes hosted on created virtual platforms included, amongst others:
- National policy development
- The Provincial Action Plan implementation
- GBV workshop
- Women in leadership workshop
- Gender equity
- Mental and physical wellbeing
To meaningfully change the lived experiences for women and the girl child, the developments of the Provincial Action Plan for women in sport is our focus for the 2021-2022 financial year.
As we continue to consult with sport federations and partners, the desired workshop deliverable outcomes for implementation across the Western Cape include:
- Increase participation in sport
- Access to facilities
- Safe - guarding policy
- Capacity building of female administrators and coaches
- Media and sponsorship
As we now kick off Women’s Month 2021, the DCAS will host two Women’s Day Virtual programmes. One on 9 August 2021 to update our affiliated federations on our Women in Sport Safety and Dignity Plan, the status of its draft in consultation with our valued stakeholders to be adopted and launched on 8 March 2022, on International Women’s Day. The launch will serve as the culmination of the upcoming monthly webinars to commence in September 2021. Each webinar will deal with relevant themes to progress the draft plan with experts in the field advising on matters that may transpire from our federations through the ongoing engagements. These themes include, but are not limited to:
- Status update on sporting sector
- Physical/ Mental Wellbeing during unprecedented times
- The Western Cape Government for dignified sporting experiences for women in sport which will focus on the WCG Safety Plan and the DCAS role in bringing it into fruition
The second virtual Women’s Day programme is scheduled for 10 August 2021 for the DCAS as we raise awareness on gender mainstreaming and promoting gender equity in the work environment. Minister Marais will use the platform to engage our internal staff who actions our service delivery footprint in our communities across the province as empowerment starts at home. Minister Marais will also reflect on her own journey in becoming a member of Cabinet and her experiences as a woman rising through the ranks of government. Our HOD, Mr. Guy Redman will also be in attendance and will provide an overview of the work being done by the DCAS to empower women and the girl child.
Minister Marais said, “Gender equality is also about incorporating support systems to assist competent women at the table of decision makers, and to stop discrimination that continues to undermine the rights of women in our society. We need more opportunities for women in sport, so that we can lead in addressing the plight that other women and the rest of society face. With this diversity, we’ll have more gender-neutral policies, and more sensitivity to issues affecting women and girls to facilitate easy access to a safer sporting environment, in which all can flourish equally”.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
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