Member of the IOC Women’s Commission and secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Malaysia Beng Choo Low has made a strong case for a proactive and open-minded strategy to ensure equal opportunities for women in the field of sports.
In her keynote address on the theme “Gender Equality and Equity in the Olympic Movement” at the three-day Women in Sports Leadership/Training seminar at the Sokhalay Hotel in Siem Reap yesterday, Beng called for special efforts to reach this goal.
In the first part of her presentation, Beng contended that the Olympic Charter had clearly defined the practice of sport as a human right and in that context women fully deserved their share of opportunities in the mainstream decision-making process.
“Equality has to be an equal share and equal fairness. These principles will work only if we follow a proactive and open-minded approach and continue our relentless drive for more women leaders, officials and athletes,” she told a gathering of 35 participants drawn from different segments of Cambodian sport.
Lamenting the low percentage of women in leadership roles across the board in the Olympic movement, international federations and national committees, Beng said women were not out to take over but to work together.
“It took 116 years since the first Olympics in 1896, which had no women participants, for London 2012 to make it women in all sports. So the change did not and will not happen overnight. It is time to press on with what has been achieved so far,” she said.
Praising the chairperson of Cambodia’s Women and Sport Commission Mak Van Sitha for her strong and efficient leadership, Beng suggested the Kingdom ought to consider establishing awards for women who excel in sport.
In his welcome address, the secretary-general of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Vath Chamroeun said the aim of the seminar was to bring home to the population the significance and impact of the increasingly prominent role women athletes are playing in the sports arena.
Rio-bound Chov Sotheara, the first female wrestler to compete at the Olympics for Cambodia, was among the participants.