Gender 001 – Seal & Sherry 2018
An evaluation of the Girls Empowerment through Sport (GET) programme offered as a development programme by Cricket Papua New Guinea (PNG) funded by the Australian’s Government’s Pacific Sports
Port Moresby, capital of PNG at local schools.
The programme is managed by a partnership between Cricket PNG, ICC (South Asia Pacific) and the Australian Sports Commission. It is implemented for a term in once class per school to girls aged between 12 and 18 years. The programme entails six cricket sessions and six educational sessions over a term, followed by a cricket carnival as a round robin-style competition.
Form a local partnership with a local NGO (Coalition for Change) and activist group for gender equality and that lobbied for social justice and change the status quo of women in that society.
- The ‘Girls’ Effect movement’ where girls act as catalysts for change.
- In PNG about 90% of women in Port Moresby have been exposed to violence and suppressed rights, keeping them vulnerable and victims of gender-based violence and/or abuse.
- Empowerment and agency (being able to act and bring about change) within existing structural barriers (e.g. political, tribal-legal and socio economic realities). Empowerment relates to local realities and has meaning when suppressive gender relations are disrupted and girls not only use their voices in a safe space, but act to claim their rights.
- The GET programme offered girls a safe space and created awareness of broader social issues (e.g. gender-based violence) and disrupted the norms of how girls should behave.
- Playing cricket (a traditionally male sport) created new identities and ways girls experience their bodies as strong and capable.
- Girls gained confidence and influenced their peers and family members to respect women’s rights and change behaviours (e.g. expose abuse and have male siblings share domestic duties).
- Consciousness-raising of sexism and produce supportive networks for women and girls (e.g. local managers, instructors/coaches and participants).
- Indigenous knowledge was key in providing life lessons and address local gender issues.
- Empowerment for instructors meant acting as role models and oppose (also disrupt) traditional gendered relations that exists in sport and in the broader community.
- A programme should not only focus on individual participants but challenge oppressive structures – in this case this was done by an activist NGO that could challenge discriminatory practices.
- The programme carried status because it was an initiative from the national cricket sport organisation.
- Employing and training female staff assisted girls and set an example within the realities that girls had to cope with and negotiate change.
- It was effective to use a male-dominated sport that could actively contest traditional expectations.
- There should also be a programme for boys led by gender-minded men – it is a societal issue not to be solved by women alone.
- What does empowerment mean? Can girls and women really change (show agency) discriminatory structures and practices?
- In your context or realities were girls and women are oppressed, how would you go about to really empower them and address issues like gender-based violence?
- Do you know of sport federations or structures that implement such sport-for-development initiatives? If you do, what does it look like? If not, do you think they will partner with an NGO for such a programme?