GIS - September 13, 2012: Some 600 women aged 20 to 60 from all corners of Mauritius are taking part in the various sporting events being held today at the Sir Gaetan Duval Stadium, Rose Hill, in the context of the National Omnisport Day for Women. The Sports Day, a joint initiative of the National Women’s Council, the Commission Nationale du Sport Féminin and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, aims at promoting sports among young girls and women.
The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Mireille Martin proceeded to the opening of the National Omnisport Day for Women” in the presence of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Devanand Ritoo, this morning. In their interventions, both ministers highlighted the benefits of the practice of sports for young women and girls.
According to Mrs Martin, many studies have shown the immense benefits of sports and physical activity for women and girls in preventing countless non-communicable diseases which account for over 60% of global deaths, while sport and physical activity for women of older age groups can avert cardiovascular diseases which account for 1/3 of deaths among women all around the world. She stated that sports and physical activity play an important role in the prevention of osteoporosis, which women have a higher risk of developing as compared to their male counterparts. Sports and recreational activities also provide an alternative avenue for participation in the social and cultural life of their communities, she said.
For his part, the Minister of Youth and Sports highlighted the considerable importance of physical activity and sports in the prevention as well as treatment of chronic and degenerative diseases such as ageing, arthritis, hypertension and diabetes. Mr Ritoo also recalled the role of physical activity in promoting psychological well-being and reducing stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression.
The organisation of sporting events targeting young girls and women is in line with several international and regional treaties and documents providing important policy recommendations and establishing the link between women, gender equality and sports.
The Beijing Platform for Action, an agenda for women’s empowerment adopted in 1995 which identifies twelve critical areas of concern with respect to the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equality, calls upon State Parties to provide, among others, for accessible recreational and sport facilities to girls and women of all ages on the same basis as they are made available to men and boys. The Commission on the Status of Women, the principal global policy-making body of the United Nations Economic and Social Council dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women, also advocates women’s participation in regular sports practices and recreational activities, which have a positive impact on their health, well being and fitness.
Moreover, sports are considered as a contributing factor in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Increasing the accessibility of women and girls to sports and physical activity builds their confidence and promotes stronger social integration and cohesion.