“Athlete Well-being Must Remain A Priority”
We wish Ms Barbra Banda good health and safety and offer our solidarity.
As a high profile athlete, she has been placed in the centre of a network of actions and ongoing controversies related to policies and rules that make athletes vulnerable and their rights and well being at risk. The rules around medical based gender criteria for qualification to participate in sports events is one of them.
Throughout this situation, as stakeholders responsible for athletes, we must focus on making sure athletes are protected and supported.
Further, there should be transparency and care in the process and decisions made that not only affect one athlete in one sport but affect athletes in various sports.
Several sports bodies including those governing football, athletics, and most recently swimming, are adopting norms and rules that create a culture of legal, administrative, and medical processes that are harmful to athletes.
As sports organisations, we must undertake to clarify and challenge the systems, the decision makers, rules and culture that enable the situation such as we are seeing with Ms Barbra Banda.
This is not the only case, therefore we call for cooperation with sports governing bodies and rights organisations to work towards structures, policies, and actions for:
access to information for relevant stakeholders
clear channels of redress
We are available to work with stakeholders on this matter that challenges the progress for rights of women to engage at all levels of sports.
Our solidarity remains with Barbra Banda and to all the athletes that are affected by the current practices of the sports sector that need to change.
On behalf of NOWSPAR,
Dr Lombe Mwambwa
NOWSPAR is the National Organisation for Women in Sport Physical Activity and Recreation, a Zambian organisation that advances the rights of girls and women to and through sport. NOWSPAR is a signatory of the Brighton Helsinki and Gaborone Declarations that commit to action towards inclusion of women in sport. NOWSPAR is also affiliated to Women Sport International and IWG bodies that challenge global scale inequalities in sport.