Economic Empowerment And Sport

In many places in the world, a girl is not considered to be a wage-earning part of a family economy. As a result, she, like the generations of females before her, is given responsibility for caretaking, cooking, childbearing, and collecting wood and water. Financially, a girl’s value is often perceived as limited to the dowry payment she generates or, in desperate situations, the collateral she can earn to pay back debts.  These girls are often unable to participate in sport programmes because families consider such ‘leisure activities’ as being frivolous and taking time away from girls’ assigned household duties.  If a girl can demonstrate her capability to generate future income for her family through her participation in a sport programme, she becomes an economic agent better placed to have a voice in decisions that affect her life.

Economic empowerment can be integrated into girls’ sport programmes, starting with existing programmes:

  •  Offer participants opportunities to earn money by providing services within the programme, such as coaching, officiating or washing and repairing uniforms
  •  Create opportunities for girls to learn and practice skills. Computer and office skills can be learned through volunteering in the office and keeping practice, tournament and other administration records
  •  Provide school scholarship support for girls who exhibit extraordinary leadership as part of the programme
  •  Teach girls math, reading and verbal skills
  •  Educate girls about how to manage and earn money or open a savings account
  •  Help girls develop marketable skills to secure jobs in the community
  •  Encourage girls to develop a sense of financial independence and confidence in their ability to earn money
  •  Train girls on how to operate a microbusiness, whether one they might start themselves in the future or helping a small family business

Women Win takes a market-based, industry sector approach to economic empowerment.  Years of work with grassroots programmes around the world has confirmed that successful economic empowerment strategies begin with a viable market opportunity.  Especially in developing countries and weak economies, any initiative must be practical, financially self-sustaining and demonstrate an immediate benefit to girls and women participating in the programme.  While most sectors of the economy provide opportunities for economic empowerment of girls and women, this guide chooses to focus on the industry sectors in which Women Win’s programme partners have found the greatest economic success and/or ability to impact women’s role in sustainable development.  These include:

  • Agriculture:  agricultural processing, value-added products and food security
  • Tourism:  hotel, restaurant and event management, handicraft, guide and cultural interpretation services
  • Sport:  education and training, facilities and membership businesses, equipment and gear
  • Products and Services:  consumer goods, personal care, health care, information/communications and technology (ICT) and financial services