The Rwanda Olympic Committee and the IOC hosted the Advancing Women in Leadership Forum for Africa-Asia on 9-11 August which attracted participants from NOCs across the two continents to discuss ways in which gender equality can be promoted within the Olympic Movement.

The Rwanda Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi addressed delegates at the opening of the forum and expressed Rwanda President Paul Kagame and the country’s commitment to promoting gender equality. The Prime Minister was followed by Julienne Uwacu from the  Ministry of Sports and Culture of the Republic of Rwanda Kigali who spoke of the good progress Rwanda has made in involving women in leadership roles, including in sports roles. UN Women Regional Director for EA/SA, Izeduwa Derex-Briggs and IOC Member and Rwanda NOC President, Lydia Nsekera, also both praised Rwanda for the progress they have made in promoting women in sport but stressed that there must be equal treatment for men and women whether it is in terms of payment or responsibilities.

Following the opening, there was a number of panel discussions which were attended by expert speakers from across the Olympic Movement. Panellists included IOC Member and President of the Gambia NOC, Beatrice Allen Mustafa Berraf; the 1st Vice President of the Association of National of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), Brian Lewis; President of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees and President of the Trinidad & Tobago NOC, William Blick; President of the Uganda NOC, Lt.General Syed Arif Hassan; President of the Pakistan NOC, Jacqueline Yi-Ting Shen; Secretary General of the Chinese Taipei NOC; and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura.

Away from the forum, delegates attended the Kigali Genocide Memorial to pay tribute to the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi in 19914 and learn more about Rwanda’s history. Lydia Nsekera spoke at the memorial of how such atrocities should never happen again. She also spoke of how women have proven themselves as leaders in sports bodies and that sports organisations need to engage more women.