Botswana’s Female Athletes: Striving for Recognition and Equality in Sports

Sports minister notes how, compared to their male counterparts, female athletes are often marginalised, are celebrated less and are minimally rewarded 


In a stirring address at the Vunani Annual Women Sports Awards that were held in Gaborone over the weekend, the Minister of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture Tumiso Rakgare, highlighted the glaring disparities faced by female athletes across the country’s sports landscape.

He noted that despite their remarkable talent and outstanding achievements in local, regional and international competitions, female athletes are often marginalised, celebrated less and are minimally rewarded compared to their male counterparts.

Minister Rakgare emphasised the pivotal role of initiatives such as the Vunani Annual Women Sports Awards in bridging the gender gap within Botswana’s sports community.


He expressed admiration for the dedication, courage and prowess exhibited by women in Botswana’s sports arena, asserting that recognising their achievements through platforms like these awards is not only fitting but also imperative.

“In 2017, Women and Sports Botswana (WASBO), in collaboration with the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), conducted a baseline study on the participation of Women and Girls in Sports in Botswana at all levels,” Rakgare said.

He noted that a follow-up study was conducted in 2022 (after the 7th IWG Conference) and it indicated that participation of girls and women in the country was very low (2-39.1 percent) across the sports codes at Association level.

Urgent need

“Further, it was revealed that women’s participation in leadership and managerial participation at club level was between 0-66.7 percent, with an average of 21.5 percent, and at Association level the involvement of girls and women was between 0-36. 4 percent,” said the minister.

Rakgare emphasised the urgent need for concerted efforts to address these disparities and ensure gender parity in sports.

He lauded the companies sponsoring the awards for their commitment to investing in initiatives aimed at closing the gender gap in sports.


Umpire of the Year: Dorothy Okatch

Coach of the Year: Nnaniso Magwaba

HeForShe: Ofentse Oshima Bakwadi

Team of The Year: The Mares

Sportswoman of the Year: Refilwe Tholakele

Sportswoman of the Year with Disability: Mmakgosi Lydia Tlhakanelo

Young Promising Female Athlete: Sethunya Buhle Majama

Volunteer of the Year: Thuso Nthule

Administrator of the Year: Katlego Daphne Rakobe

Sports Journalist of the Year (Print): Anita Rannoba

Sports Journalist of the Year (Radio): Neo Skillo Aabobe

Sports Journalist of the Year (TV): Motlalepula Darkin

Photographer of the Year: Kennedy Poloko Ramokone

Courage Award: Game Mothibi

Champion for Equality Award: Okavango Diamond Company

CEO’s Special Award: Marumo Morule

CEO’s Special Award: Vunani Fund Managers