7th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport, Botswana
The International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women and Sport is a milestone event, which, every four years, focuses global attention on specific goals and actions aimed at offering men and women equal opportunities in the sports arena.
The FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission and its continental counterpart, the FIM Africa Women’s Commission, participated in this 7th edition of the Conference from 17 to 20 May 2018, attended by 1’400 participants from over 100 countries. Representatives from sports federations and organisations, governmental institutions, non-profit organisations and universities, as well as academic researchers and high level athletes, gathered together to address the vast topic of mainstreaming in sport under the slogan: “Determine the future. Be Part of the Change”.
The Commission held a presentation during one parallel session on the theme “Tell Their Story: Leveraging Media to Advocate for Women's Sport”, during which two amazing female riders from South
Africa shared their inspiring stories:
- Kirsten Landman, Extreme Enduro rider, first female rider to finish the legendary "Roof of Africa"
- Morongoa Mahope, Superbike rider, first black female rider competing in Superbike in South Africa.
A booth was also run with the support of female motorcycling representatives from Botswana throughout the four days of conference, generating a lot of interest and curiosity among the participants and organisers and giving good exposure to motorcycling and the females taking part in it.
Nita Korhonen, Director of the FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission
“It is crucial for our commission to represent motorcycling at such a significant conference, give more visibility to our sport and activities, engage with experts in the field of gender equity and enlarge our network. To be able to improve the future of women in sport, it is essential to focus on awareness, share success stories and encourage more girls and women to join our sport. Kirsten and Mo are perfect examples and ideal role models. Thanks to the conference we collected precious information regarding the grassroots level, empowerment and mentorship and will increase our co-operation with the International Olympic Committee, notably when it comes to education, leadership and post-career athletes’ programmes.”
Julie Matiba-Wahome, Vice-President of FIM Africa Women’s Commission
“Participating in this conference was a unique occasion for FIM Africa to interact with as many relevant organisations and institutions as possible and better understand the challenges that women in sport are facing across the board. It confirmed that many of these challenges are very similar to what we experience in motorcycling.
It was also valuable to meet with the FIM Women’s commission and discuss issues, ideas and establish relationships for our future benefit. I felt that we achieved success in creating visibility and awareness.”
Morongoa Mahope, Superbike Rider, South Africa
“I was 30-year-old mother when I tried a motorcycle for the first time and 33 when I started to race, proving to other women that you can join the sport at later age. It was a real pleasure to share my story during the conference as well as on the radio, as Julie, Kirsten and I got the chance to be interviewed by a national radio. Now, I want to help other girls and women who are not familiar with motorcycling to get involved in riding and racing through the motorcycling clinics we will be organising. This is something we have been lacking in South Africa and I hope I can introduce motorcycling to many women who are interested in trying it.”
Kirsten Landman, Enduro Rider, South Africa
“Having the chance to share my story during this 7th IWG conference was amazing. I could see some participants intrigued by my bike and asking me if it was really me riding it! Showing that yes, women can do it, they can ride a bike, they can compete, was key and raised awareness on our sport. During the sessions, it was interesting to hear about the issue of leveraging media to support women in sport as well as about challenges and strategies for how to overcome them, especially as one of my goals is to take part in Dakar and hopefully be the first female African rider to finish it!”
This participation in the 7th IWG Conference on Women and Sport was an enthralling experience for the FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission, the FIM Africa Women’s Commission as well as for the two South African female riders and female representatives of Gaborone’s motorcycling club. Larger and new areas for action have been identified, networking opportunities created and stronger relationships and bonds forged, while education and grassroots have been confirmed as topics of high importance in our sphere of action.