In a significant stride towards gender equity and inclusive leadership, Dr. Moneoang Leshota has emerged as a trailblazer by securing the position of Executive Board Woman Member of the UCSA – Union des Confédérations Sportive Africaines. Dr. Leshota, already a distinguished figure as a BCA Council Member and the Chairperson of the BCA Gender Equity Committee, brings a wealth of experience, expertise, and a fervent commitment to promoting diversity within the sports realm.

 

As the newest addition to the UCSA Executive Board, Dr. Leshota’s election marks a pivotal moment not only in her illustrious career but also in the broader narrative of advancing women’s representation in sports governance. A passionate advocate for gender equality, Dr. Leshota’s multifaceted role extends beyond her executive duties, encompassing a strategic focus on fostering an inclusive sporting environment.

 

In this exclusive interview with BCA TV, we delve into Dr. Moneoang Leshota’s insights, aspirations, and plans for her role as the UCSA Executive Board Woman Member, shedding light on her vision for the future and her unwavering dedication to championing gender equity within the Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA).

 

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My name is Dr. Moneoang Leshota, and I find great joy in sharing my journey—a journey that intertwines my passion for mathematics education, my love for sports, particularly badminton, and my unwavering commitment to promoting gender equity within the sports realm.

 

My professional path has been rooted in education, holding a PhD in Mathematics Education. For over a decade, I served as a Lecturer in Mathematics at the National University of Lesotho. Additionally, I engaged in teacher professional development through the Wits Maths Connect Secondary Project in Johannesburg, South Africa. Presently, I am a Senior Researcher at the University of Pretoria Pre-University Academy, managing the research unit.

 

Sports have always been an integral part of my life, from my early days as a sprinter in primary school to playing netball at university. My journey into sports administration began when, as Vice President of the Lesotho Sports Council during the All-Africa Games in 1999, I encountered a BCA Council member expressing interest in Lesotho joining BCA. This led to the formation of the Lesotho Badminton Association (LESBAD) in 2000, where I served as the founding President.

 

My involvement with BCA deepened over the years. I was elected to the BCA Council in 2017 and secured re-election for four subsequent terms until 2023-2027. During this time, I assumed the role of Chairperson of the Gender Equity Commission, overseeing the promotion of gender equity within the organization. I witnessed significant growth and stability in BCA’s administration, participated in drafting its constitution, and contributed to developing the BCA Strategic Plan 2022-2028.

As a council member, my focus extended beyond administrative duties. I became deeply passionate about advocating for gender equality in badminton. The launch of the African Women in Badminton Award (AWIBA) in 2018, aimed at celebrating women’s achievements in the sport, stands out as a highlight. However, challenges persist at the member association level, urging us to strive for swifter progress.

 

My professional background as an educator, researcher, and manager has profoundly influenced my approach to sports administration—emphasizing inclusion, embracing diversity, and viewing differences as strengths rather than constraints.

 

In my role as Chairperson of the BCA Gender Equity Committee, I have championed initiatives such as the AWIBA award, administration courses, women-only coaching courses, and webinars to empower women at various levels. Gender stereotypes, cultural biases, and financial limitations remain challenges, and I believe creating awareness and engaging stakeholders are crucial strategies for addressing them.

 

Turning to the broader African continent, my vision for increasing awareness and women’s participation in badminton involves enforcing representation of women in strategic committees, making them visible and irrefutable. Effective communication of the gender equity agenda is vital from grassroots to elite levels, aligning with the IOC’s commitment to gender equality in sports.

Encouraging more women to participate in badminton requires creating safe environments, ensuring gender-responsive policies, and providing equal opportunities. I draw inspiration from the words of Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, emphasizing sport as a powerful platform for promoting gender equality.

My recent election as an Executive Board Woman Member of UCSA marks a significant step in advancing women’s representation in sports governance. Motivated by the scarcity of women in leadership roles within sport confederations, I aim to advocate for gender equity and inclusion at the highest level. Collaboration with other sports organizations is crucial, and I envision forming a “women body” within UCSA to strengthen the voice of women across member confederations.

My leadership drive is fueled by a belief in the power of women and the opportunities they deserve. Surrounded by strong women, especially my mother, and supported by mentors and allies, I strive to be part of the movement that opens up spaces for women’s participation in all aspects of sport. My journey is woven with the resilience and tenacity of women globally, and I am committed to being a catalyst for change in women’s empowerment.

In conclusion, my story is one of passion, perseverance, and a relentless dedication to shaping a future where women in badminton and sports, in general, have equal opportunities to thrive.

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Author: 
Bernadin Bokpe