Lack of confidence among women athletes and low representation of women at the leadership position of sports management impedes womens’ participation in sports according to an official from Women and Sports Committee of Bhutan (WSCB).

Of the 37 members who took part in the general assembly of Bhutan Olympic Committee earlier this year in Paro, the meeting saw only three women leaders participate.

A committee member with WSCB, Tshering Zangmo, said there is a need to encourage women to take up leadership roles in sports.

“This would be an inspiration and huge encouragement to young women in sports. However, there isn’t motivating factor encouraging women to take up leadership roles in sports,” she said.

To foster gender equality in Olympic movements, the International Olympic Committee 2020 agenda focuses on achieving 30 percent female participation in Olympic games and stimulating women’s participation and opportunities in sports.

However, the official from WSCB feels that it would be difficult for the country to achieve the agenda. “Womens’ participation diversifies sports and leadership. It also brings in different ideas to take sports forward.”

Aimed at enhancing increased womens’ representation and participation in sports, WSCB with the support from Olympic Solidarity and Bhutan Olympic Committee organised two-day seminar on professional communication skills in Thimphu.

The seminar is conducted in accordance with IOC 2020 agenda to help women reach at least 30 percent representation in a leadership position at any level of sports. The programme is part of IOCs’ global initiative.

“The percentage proven by several literatures was the tipping point to reach equal representation and participation,” said Gabriela Muller from Switzerland, the facilitator of the seminar.

She added that women in sports share a lot of cultural challenges.  “There is a tremendous difference in prize money, sponsoring money and training cost between female and male athletes.”

National archer Karma said there is a need to inspire women in sports.

“There is an opportunity for women in sports. However, they lack the courage to embrace the opportunities,” she said.

In all sports competitions organised by national federations last year, women’s team taking part received only 34.2 percent of the prize money while the men’s team received 65.8 percent.

The seminar included sessions on advanced communication skills, personal leadership, presentation skills, and media training and public speaking abilities.

More than 33 participants attended the seminar that ended yesterday.