Closing the Visibility Gap on the African Continent

The gsport Team hosted its first ever #gsportAfrica event in an online session on Sunday, 22 May 2022, where leading women in sport shared their experience around closing the visibility gap on the continent to encourage better support for women in sport.

The panel compromised of formidable women who a breaking new ground across the African continent. These are women whose stories have been told by gsport and they shared how the gsport platform positively contributed to their careers and the importance of such platforms for women in sport to have the spotlight.

The panellists consisted of PR Executive of FC Platinum Holdings Chido Chizondo of Zimbabwe, BBC Africa Sports Reporter Celestine Karoney of Kenya, Braveheart Ladies Team Captain Josephine Ojinene, rising hockey star Namureng Eleanor Chebet of Kenya, gsport content lead Celine Abrahams of South Africa, Sports Rifle and gsport Africa correspondent Tatenda Gondo of Zimbabwe, gsport writer Babsie Kutwana of South Africa and gsport Founder, Kass Naidoo as host.

Such platforms are so important in understanding what has been done and what else can be done to amplify the stories of women in sport on the African continent. The gender equality gap on the continent is still quite far from being closed as we still have to fight for professional leagues and sponsorships for women in sport.

As a PR specialist, Chizondo spoke about how media coverage can motivate corporates to rally behind women’s sport: “Unfortunately, as you grow in sports, especially with female sports, you will find that there is no tangible income that comes from it, especially in Africa – the more third world countries. So, it is very difficult to get corporate sponsorship for women in Africa, however, what has happened is the more we speak about women in sport, the more people are inclined to support women in sport. I think the role the media has been playing over the past couple of years has given us a fair chance in terms of sponsorship across various sports,” she shared.

The power of digital media is that we are connected by a click of a button. It is so important to tell the stories of the untold and create conversations about the underdog to get people talking. When these stories are told, they amplify the ambition of the women whose story is being told as well as others that they are dreams are valid.

It inspires someone to work towards their dreams because they can see that it is possible. Rising hockey star Eleanor Chebet shared how the coverage from gsport positively impacted her life and her ambitions of one-day playing hockey professionally in either Netherlands or Argentina. This event allowed her to share a personalised message to motivate potential sponsors to back her and Kenyan hockey.

Braveheart Ladies Team Captain Josephine Ojinene shared in the session how the coverage of her career has inspired her to think about her future and what more she would like to achieve for herself. Her goals include playing in a professional league and representing her country on the world stage. Ojinene is passionate about building and improving the state of women’s football in her community and country through hard work and inspiring her teammates.

What inspired me the most about the session is how passionate the ladies are within their respective fields. The session afforded the ladies an opportunity to elaborate on their stories and hopefully garner support from the media to continue to back them and their career milestones.

We have seen record-breaking numbers in each season of the growing viewership of women’s sport and there is clear evidence that there is an appetite for the women’s side of the game.

The media has a huge influence on who the corporates and brands sponsor. I would encourage the African media to use their influence for their purpose and the intention to give a voice to the voiceless and shine the spotlight on the underdogs.

This will create more opportunities for women in Africa to professionally play their desired sporting code and young African girls will see that you can contribute to sport beyond the field.

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