SAFA 'walks the talk' on women empowerment in football
By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
The South African Football Association (SAFA) is proving to be serious about making women empowerment in football a priority.
Conversely, the number of women in leadership positions in South African football in the past five years has grown significantly. Albeit not as fast as SAFA would like.
“While we do face many challenges towards gender equity we have made significant progress."
So said Ria Ledwaba, a SAFA executive committee member, following her presentation at the CAF Women’s Symposium in Marrakesh Morocco on Thursday.
“We are well aware of the patriarchal culture in South African society, and it is even more evident in sport including football. For this reason, we are making a concerted effort to advance the role of women in football.”
Ledwaba said SAFA wanted to ensure that generations of girls understood that there was a future for women in sport and particularly in football.
According to SAFAWomen empowerment has since 2013 been a core theme of the SAFA administration which has put in place a coordinated effort to increase the number of women in leadership roles in the sport.
"To this end SAFA has achieved the following, four women sit on the national Executive Committee; every one of the 53 SAFA regions has a woman vice-president; two regions now have women presidents; all the women’s national teams have a women head coach; two South Africans are coaching in the USA; Ledwaba and fellow SAFA executive committee member Anastasia Tsichlas made presentations to the CAF Symposium centred on initiatives that could be implemented at local level to advance women empowerment in football on the continent."
Danny Jordaan, SAFA President said: “Research suggests that the pace of change towards gender equity globally is very slow across sectors including business, politics and of course sports administration. It is therefore imperative that we as sports administrators do all we can to advance women empowerment.”
Jordaan said the focus on empowerment was the main driver behind the current success of Banyana Banyana. And as well as the junior women’s national teams.
SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble SAFA echoed Jordaan’s views saying that the association would continue to push for gender equity.
“We have proactively engaged our 53 regions to do all they can to ensure that women are represented in the leadership levels. As you can see we have had quite some success but of course much still needs to be done,” said Mumble.
“As the South African football community dominated by men we believe that women are not just here to make up the numbers; rather women must and will play a fundamental role in the growth and development of the sport at all levels.”