Vice President of the Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA), Ritah Aliguma has added her voice onto the growing concern about the role of women in as far as sports development is concerned.

Addressing the congregation at the 2016 Young reporters congress hosted by the Hong Kong Sports Press Association (HKSPA), Aliguma stressed the potentiality of the feminine gender to the general development of society.

“There is no other option but to follow the trend” Aliguma who presented on the role of women in sports noted;

Women are agents of change. There are a billion more reasons to amplify their voices and increase women’s roles as leaders.

The potential for sport to contribute to the social, economic and political empowerment of women and girls is clear and has been recognized by Governments, civil society, UN, Sports federations and associations, we just need to stand and be counted

She paid glowing appreciation to all stake holders that have transformed sport for the better, moreso with the involvement of women world over.

 “I am so grateful to AIPS for the gender balance that is evident in all the programs starting from the grass-roots to the pinnacle of Sports.  This is a great step towards emancipation of women in the field of Sports. I take this opportunity to thank the Hong Kong sports press Association for organising this great event geared towards empowering the next generation of sports personalities.It’s an honour to be sharing this panel with distinguished individuals who have done so much to advance sports especially women’s participation and leadership around  the world” she noted.

 Passion, Vision, Determination and Connection:

Without mincing words, Aliguma who was representing Uganda cited several vivid examples world over portraying the potential of women once given the plat form.

Detailed Speech:

In 1931, when 17-year old Jackie Mitchell became the second woman in history to be signed professional baseball team, it made a big mark on gender in sports,  when Danica Patrick enrolled in the male-dominated NASCAR  Auto racing, eyes were rolled due to the fact that auto-racing in America was mainly a “manly” thing,  when Annika Sorenstam decided to enter a men’s Golf tournament in 2003, she attracted a lot of negative attention, which is the most definite scenario whenever trends are being set.  The tides are changing and we, as female sports personalities have to embrace the trend and ride with the tide.

“We don’t have to be like WWE’s Rima Fakih to compete for the “Tough Enough”crown but we all have our peculiar roles to play in the world of sports” She added.

With the number of Olympic Sports events for women being increased, the Stakes are high for women to play the role as sports personalities both in the field, track and even those of us that relay events as they unfold. 

Women ought to stand and take up positions responsibly to emulate other prominent women in other areas of life.

We are doing the world a disservice.  We can do something and play a major role in making sports, the world’s most viable medium of communication, also an avenue more likely to unite bitter enemies

Take up a position, nothing should be labelled “male” you can do something about it by performing especially where nobody is expecting you to. It all begins in the minds.

Am excited by all the attention I am getting because of sport but am disappointed that it has taken so long for women to step into these positions. Thank God you were born to be a player, you were meant to be here and appreciate the moment because it’s yours.

Today, many associations and federations have come up with different programs geared towards empowering women into sports leadership. In my nation, Uganda Olympic Committee officially launched the first white paper on empowering women into sport leadership in Uganda whose sole objective is to pave way for the increase of women’s participation in all aspects of sport governance namely, administration, media management and reporting, administration, coaching and officiating. Uganda’s parliament make up at least 35% which shows a steady rise from 17% of women elected in 1989 in politics.

However, participation of women in sport leadership is commendable but still low because women make up only 10% of sports federations and associations.  IOC Commissions have registered 60% increase in women members in less than three years. Women now make up over one third of IOC commission members another step in the implementation of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reform. 33% of female representation is a historic high.

Today, Uganda sports press association has initiated recognizing both male and female athletes at the annual Nile Special USPA Gala for all sport disciplines which has not been the case. USPA as well appointed me as the first female vice President since it was formed. Talking about 46 years of the association’s existence. This didn’t come on silver platter, not because of my physical ability, perhaps my mental ability but it all started when I took up my position in a male-dominated trade of sports reporting.

As a result, there are several “Firsts” that have come into play since I made up my mind to stand for my region as a woman in sports (First E & Central Africa Journalists’ convention, First ever Aips Presidents Visit to Uganda, first health living campaign with the cooperate league and NSSF, etc )

Several Women have been making inroads into the traditionally male dominated occupations and one of these is sports reporting in all its forms: writing, broadcasting, and interviewing. This indicates that professional sports players and coaches have a good deal to learn about equality. There has been an issue raised on female sports reporting and lives a lot to be questioned! Do you realise that reporters consider athletes bodies and dress code before considering or analysing the result? It’s easier to admire Serena William’s body before getting to her performance on court. Fellow reporters, this should change.

Louise McKinney said, “What is the purpose of a woman’s life? The purpose of a woman’s life is just the same as the purpose of a man’s life: that she may make the best possible contribution to the generation in which she is living.” 

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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