Women, Gender and Sport in Africa
 

Ennie Laurah Mercy Ndoro
Women's University In Africa (WUA)         

The Role of Sport In Girl Child Empowerment In Schools: A Case For Visitation High School In Zimbabwe
Addressing gender disparity and fostering equity in University Education
 
The role of sport in the development of children traces as far back as the ancient Greece, where it was a way of instilling discipline in children. In the Zimbabwean school curriculum, sport is an integral part that the ministry considers important for promoting both physical and intellectual development in students, hence the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture. In the past, sporting disciplines were classified as either male or female. The most common sporting disciplines in most Zimbabwean schools were soccer and netball played by boys and girls respectively.  However, in response to global changes, especially gender equity, where society is trying as much as possible to do away with stereotypes, new sporting disciplines have been introduced in most schools. In addition to that, there has also been a shift from stereotyping a sporting discipline as a male or female. This has created an opportunity for girls to break into new ground by excelling in the so –called male sporting disciplines, especially soccer.

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how Girls soccer has developed and become the most successful and popular sport at Visitation High School in Zimbabwe. The paper among other things traces the history and development of girls soccer in the school. It also explores strategies that have been used to link the sport to academic development as a motivational factor. It also discusses how discipline and leadership training have been merged in order to promote girl child empowerment. The paper traces profile of the discipline and highlights the achievements of the various teams since 1998 to 2005. Chief among them being that school produced the first student to be selected in the Zimbabwean National Women Soccer team, and to win a scholarship to study both sport and academic degrees in the United States. The paper also discusses the challenges that the school soccer teams have faced over the years. It will also gunner for support from those participants who are willing to share their experiences and suggest possible solutions to these challenges, in a bid to promote the sport at a higher level.   

Bio

A Lecturer in the faculty of Social Sciences Gender and Development Studies at the Women’s University in Africa (Zimbabwe). The goal is to address gender disparities and foster equity in Higher education. An experienced educationist who  taught for fifteen years in high schools and  five years universities. A self-starter who has a passion for empowerment, advancement and participation of women in all spheres of life. In high school she was an athlete; a short distance sprinter and netball player.  In 1999 she initiated the High school Soccer, Character-building and leadership Training programme in Zimbabwe. Between 1999 -2005 she organized and facilitated  five Women soccer administration Workshops for high school teachers especially in rural areas in a bid to promote girls soccer. Since 2000, she is a member of the Women Soccer Eastern Region Executive Committee where she has occupied several positions ranging from chairperson, organizing secretary to treasurer. As part of her community service she engages in leadership training for female university students and high school girls, AIDS Education and counseling.  She also does consultancy work in Leadership training, Gender mainstreaming in organizations, and gender mainstreaming in policy analysis. She is a content Reviewer and a module writer for Open and Distance Education. She holds A masters degrees: in Curriculum and English, Bachelor of Education Degree in English both from the University of Zimbabwe, A masters Degree in Educational Administration, Planning and Policy Studies from Zimbabwe Open University;  A certificate in Gender studies, Women Leadership and Empowerment Training  from Women Leadership and Governance Institute and  a certificate in Soccer Administration from the Zimbabwe football Association ZIFA), AIDS Education and Counseling Certificates from Zimbabwe Catholic Education Commission and Connect. Ennie is an academic who has a passion for research as a way of generating new knowledge, and participating in conferences to   share unique experiences and new knowledge



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