SLOC Inc. Women In Sports Commission Hosts Conference On Gender Bias – St. Lucia Times News

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

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Nearly forty women participated in a recent conference that focused on addressing issues affecting women in sports, including gender bias.

The SLOC Inc. Women in Sports Leaderships Leadership Conference was hosted under the
theme “Overcome to Empower: Challenging Stereotypes”, in line with the theme for this year’s observance of International Women’s Day, “Break the Bias”.

The event was a combination of a workshop presented by Mrs. Thecla Deterville of Celestial
Self-Development Centre, and a panel discussion with Mrs. Fortuna Belrose, former SLOC Inc. President; Mrs. Liota Charlemagne-Mason, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports; and Mr. Wayne Benti, renowned sports coach.

The March 5 workshop was held at the Finance Administration Centre, Pointe Seraphine, and participants came from national member federations of SLOC Inc., the 2020 Women in Sport & Leadership Conference, and other groups/women activists.

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In delivering opening remarks, SLOC Inc. President, Alfred Emmanuel, said the workshop was another step in the right direction. He noted that while SLOC Inc. is committed to the
advancement of women in Saint Lucia, it does not believe in a quota system.

“The SLOC Inc. firmly believes that women deserving of their rightful places will surely get
there sooner rather than later,” Emmanuel said.

“They are not going to get there by virtue of the fact that some allocation has been made for them simply because they are females. We believe that kind of thinking only devalues women and we’re not supportive of that.”

Participants at the all-day event got the opportunity to network, share their challenges in being women involved in sports and sporting associations, and also forge bonds of friendship.

National athlete Makeba Alcide, who represented various sporting bodies at the workshop, said the workshop was insightful, adding that since participating in the 2020 workshop, she has been a committed advocate for women in sports.

“This time around, we spoke about breaking the bias and holding ourselves accountable – not only for ourselves, but also other women in society, especially our young ladies,” Alcide said.

“One of the most interesting discussions I had with the panelists related to how to help young female athletes stay in sports. We do see a trend of young athletes at a specific age – 14 to 16 years old – leaving sports. It’s more prevalent among female athletes than their male counterparts.”

Alcide believes that more programmes need to be implemented to encourage young female
athletes to remain dedicated to sports.

Marie-Claude Alexander is a member of Supporting Girls in Sports, an organization that
encourages young female athletes to excel while shattering gender bias. She said the workshop was educational, adding that support and respect for women in sports need to be adequate and constant.

“One of the main things we spoke about was that women in sports are sometimes undermined,” Alexander said.

The conference was organized by the SLOC Women in Sports Commission, which emerged
following the Advancing Women in Leadership & Sports Conference held in March 2020.

Source: SLOC Inc. Women in Sports Commission

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