Females going missing
The reduction in participation of females in sports here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, continues to become evident.
In most of the sporting disciplines locally, the presence of females is progressively dwindling.
For example, one just has to look at netball and it is basically the same faces who fill the teams in both the community and national competitions.
Similarly, female basketball invariably feed off the small netball stock to have any semblance of activities.
Track and Field too is feeling the blow, as at the recent national championships, there were few athletes in the over–20 category competing.
Cricket has not escaped the downturn, as capturing and keeping female cricketers in active competition for any sustained period, have been an arduous but losing cause. The same is the case of squash.
But most worrying has been the dearth of young female presence in tennis and table tennis.
There is some ease and comfort in the sport of volleyball, which has been able to keep its relatively small circle intact. As a plus, this discipline has been served by repeat performers and the maintenance of the traditional catchment areas.
The lone sport that can boast of an increase in female participation is football. This is in no small measure attributed to the relative novelty of the sport to Vincentian females, as well as the efforts of the local administratiive arm for football, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF), which has the mandate to see that aspect of football grow.
Football, though, has an advantage, as it has readily available funding, which in no uncertain terms helps to provide much needed support and fuel the female programmes.
In listing the realities of the growing concerns, there seems no serious and focussed energy to first investigate the possible causes for the exponential fall-out of females’ participation and the course of action needed to help reverse the trend.
Everyone knows that feminity plays an integral part in the reduced interest and subsequent participation of females in sports.
Of note too, it is widely proven that females are the weaker sex, hence, do not take easily to disappointment and at times do not persevere in situations of challenges or hardships.
Also adding to the decline and stagnation of females in sports, is the lack of role models and trailblazers, who can be used as narratives and as examples.
To be fair to women, their participation in some sporting disciplines, still carry a taboo.
Recently, though, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee (SVGOC) launched its Women in Sports Commission. This was done primarily because that organisation has recognised the continuous drop-off in female participation in sports.
Among the objectives of the commission is granting support to the holistic development of females in sport through training, seminars, workshops and mentoring.
The commission also seeks to recognise the achievements of individuals and organisations promoting women in and through sports, as well as the promotion of the use of sport as a tool for gender equality and empowerment and create a path to management and leadership for women through sport.
These well laid out plans and attainable objectives of the commission, can only see the light of day if there is a man-sided approach towards upping the number of females coming forward and not only getting involved, but have that tenacity to stay in the respective sporting disciplines for an acceptable period.
As a matter of course, the SVGOC may be called on to access funding from its parent body, (similar to what is being done in football) to specifically ensure the development and sustenance of the female components of sports.
Like their innate character traits, females carry a soft spot, thus, are handled with gloves of cotton wool and at times, the recipients of preferential treatment.
So, whereas the issue of females in sports is an ongoing one, there must be a warrant sent out, with the order to capture and detain more females in sport.