Position Paper by the Women’s Forum (Sierra Leone) on the impasse between the football family and Isha Johansen
The Women’s Forum (Sierra Leone) has been following the football saga with keen interest and concern. We greeted the election of Madam Isha Johansen with much joy and satisfaction that at last the glass ceiling was being broken in the football world, hitherto regarded as a male exclusive domain. We were of the opinion that at last the patriarchal stereotypes were being revisited to give women a level playing field in decision-making particularly in the field of sports and in football for that matter.
We are sure that Madam Isha won this enviable position on merit and that this was a signal for reposing confidence in her to take charge of the operations of football in Sierra Leone ; and that the men ,who form the majority of football fans and administrator were going to support our SISTER to succeed in her administration. Now that this decision to withdraw this support from her has been made we begin to wonder about what went wrong; was her initial election a mere case of’ tokenism or is it a case of non-acceptance of her principles for the furtherance of football in our country?
Whatever it is, the women of Sierra Leone are of the considered view that this dismissal of our SISTER in favour of a seven –man committee does not augur well for the progress of football in Sierra Leone. The reaction of FIFA to ban Sierra Leone from football tournaments if she is not reinstated is equally bad for the country’s image. Let us not forget that Football is a very popular sport, especially among young men. Having gone through the traumatic period of the Ebola Viral disease without football, we deem it fit that all stakeholders must put their shoulder to the wheel to allow the sport to pick up the threads and give all football fans the opportunity to enjoy their right to leisure through football.
From the foregoing, we take our stand as mediators, using our ‘soft ‘power to call on all stakeholders to bury the hatchet and allow madam Johansen to run her term. Let us not forget that Sierra Leone is a signatory to many instruments and declarations on gender equality and so every effort should be made to uphold the espoused principles therein. Please do not discourage us the women to think that our menfolk frown on us being at the helm of affairs.
We do not want criticism to be levied on us women that it was when Madam Johansen was on seat that Sierra Leone was banned from football activities. In as much as we are not taking sides or being judgemental, we want to use this opportunity to appeal to the authorities concerned to rethink their latest decision so that we do not lose face in the international world of sports. Please let us give peace a chance and reinstate madam Johansen.. We are sure that by doing so many lessons would have been learnt on all sides. Let us play the game and bring Sierra Leone to higher heights. Thank you .may peace prevail in this yuletide season within us and amongst us.
MAUDE PEACOCK, PRESIDENT, WOMEN’S FORUM SIERRA LEONE .