Empowering Girls and Young Women through Sport: A Case Study of Zimbabwe’s YES Programme

By Elias E. Musangeya and Joseph Muchechetere.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Zimbabwe is one of the pioneering countries to use sport “to promote gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women” in line with the UN General Assembly’s guidelines from 2006. This paper, based on qualitative data from a small scale research about the Youth Education through Sport (YES) initiative in Zimbabwe, illuminates how empowerment through sport has helped girls and young women to resist male domination in sport and in changing their habitus. Our research suggests that empowerment of girls and women may be possible if: a) differences among them are acknowledged; b) sport is modified to meet different tastes and needs; c) they have freedom in choosing activities to play; d) their habitus changes; e) they develop positive physicality; and f) they participate in a supportive sporting environment. Empowerment, however, does not necessarily lead to gender equality.

Keywords: Education through Sport, Habitus, Discourses, Empowerment through Sport

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.79-90. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 660.125KB).

Mr. Elias E. Musangeya

Senior Adviser, United Kingdom Sport Council (UK Sport), London, Surrey, UK

He is the past Director General of the Zimbabwe Sport and Recreation Commission and is now working for UK Sport as an international development adviser. His professional work includes addressing gender equality in sport in low-income countries. He is an educationist with professional interest and passion about young women’s participation in sport. He worked with Adrian Bird, a VSO volunteer, in initiating Youth Education through Sport. This paper is an effort by Elias to share insights on how sport could be used to empower girls.

Joseph Muchechetere

Director, Sport Development, Zimbabwe Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC), Harare, Harare, Zimbabwe

He is the Director of sport development at the Sport and Recreation Commission, Zimbabwe. He started work as a sport promotion officer and rose through the ranks to his current position. He is a seasoned sport administrator and founder of the community sport development programme in Zimbabwe.