• Jamal Vira (VASANOC)

Vanuatu partcipates in Women and Sport Oceania subregional workshop

The Women and Sport Oceania (WASO) subregional Melanesian workshop hosted in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea has put the spotlight on empowering the women of Oceania to step up into a leadership role and make a difference in their sport and communities.

Vanuatu Women in Sport Commission (VANWIS) Chair Julia King, Commission member, Male Champion George Regenvanu, and Para-athlete Friana Kwevira attended the two-day workshop last month.

WASO had organized the regional workshop to assist in dealing with the challenges in line with International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Gender Equality Review Project proposed 25 action-orientated recommendations, which was further endorsed by the IOC Executive, and the Oceania NOC’s attending the ONOC General Assembly 2018. The Three subregional workshops are conducted this year, as a means of engaging participants and ensuring NOC’s support in delivering suitable initiatives for increasing the participation of girls and women in sport at all levels. Attention will be focused on the NOCs who have struggled to increase the female members in their Executive Boards.

At the same time, in line with VANWIS’ three-pillar goals of participation, governance and advocacy. The workshop’s aim was to equip participants in ‘Stepping Up’ and get ahead of the game. It was an encouragement to women in leadership to assume their roles and a reminder to Vanuatu male champions to continue to support our women in these roles.

When speaking this week to VANWIS, Chair King told Daily Sports, “It’s in a woman’s nature to sit back contently and wait for opportunities to come her way. We acknowledge the cultural barriers that restricts us, but most of the time we hide behind these excuses and we let them.

“This workshop taught me that this contentment need to be reduced as we hold hands together to step up and raise our voices, be heard and make the changes.”

Out of the 25 Recommendations put forward, the following were intensely discussed for feedback — 11: Career Transition — Suggestions to assist female athletes/Olympians into their post competition careers, 18: Leadership Development — Mechanisms one could initiate to increase the number of female candidates for a governance role per NOC or sport, 20: NOC Electoral Process — Strategies which could lead to equitable gender-based representation per NOC Executive, and 21: Roles and Responsibilities — Ways to ensure per NOC / Sport ensure men and women share the responsibility for the implementation and sustainability of gender equality in their organization.

VANWIS acknowledges the Chair of WASO, Helen Brownlee, for the opportunity to participate in the Melanesian workshop. Acknowledgement is extended to ONOC for organizing travel logistics. A huge applaus to hosts, PNG Diversity and Equity Commission for the hospitality. Gratitude is also extended to VASANOC for endorsements and last but not the least to Friana Kwevira, Vanuatu’s Commonwealth Games bronze medalist who accepted the nomination to participate in the workshop.

The same WASO workshop was conducted for Polynesians on 12-13 June, 2018 in Samoa. Another workshop is scheduled for Micronesia in November.


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