Sport Governance in Zambia: A Reflection on Advocacy for Balanced Representation
NOWSPAR is a Zambian non-governmental advocacy organisation whose work focuses on addressing the underrepresentation of women and girls in sport. NOWSPAR has undertaken programmes that engage athletes, communities, sport organisation, sport for development organisations and government departments to support women’s participation. The results of NOWSPAR’s 2017 tracking survey on gender representation show that governance bodies of sport organisations in Zambia remained dominated by men who made up more than 70% of boards in the period 2012 to 2017. The presenters reflect on the limited improvements in representation of women in sport leadership by drawing on their advocacy work experiences over the last ten years. They question the three prominent frames on women and sport underrepresentation: development, politics, and human rights. The presenters argue that to have a stronger and more effective impact on structural challenges to women’s underrepresentation in sport, advocacy organisations such as NOWSPAR can benefit from a systems approach that considers actors and contexts across all sectors and beyond local geographies. The presentation aims to contribute to the conference discussions from the unique perspective of local actors operating within the broader landscape of day-to-day NGO operations, local cultures, and international development.