Following Malawi’s 9-0 win against Lesotho at the Cosafa Women’s Championship, Tabitha Chawinga was named Player of the Match. Malawian sportswomen are not granted the recognition they deserve and in some cases are mocked if they are more muscular and less “feminine” in the eyes of society. An example of this is the media trolling against the Chawinga sisters who are both representing the Malawian flag so exceptionally and the lack of praise just sheds light on the problems that women in society face to look a certain way.
Women such as Tabitha Chawinga who sportswoman of the year as well as overall sportsperson of the year, her sister Temwa Chawinga who has found great success in her Wuhan team and Bernadetta Mkwimbira Nzika who won umpire/referee/judge of the year, have all worked hard and deserve to be put on platforms that recognize their contributions to the Malawian sports environment. Other athletes that join this list include Anisha Bashir who is Malawi’s top female boxer and won the first demale Commonwealth lightweight boxing in 2018 and was the first female African to do so as well as being nominated twice for the Regional Annual Sports Awards alongside athletes like Caster Simenya and Lerato Sechele.
The list of sportswomen in the country is long and every single athlete, male or female, deserves equal representation for their role bringing recognition to the country and as well as fair opportunities to awards.
Gender inequality in Malawi’s sports organisations and governance is a reality and recognition of women in sports leadership is definitely lacking. Where we typically praise teams like The Flames, the country’s national football team, we give less attention to other teams in the country especially female sports teams. Teams such as the The Queens, the country’s national netball team, have performed extremely well and are consistently waving the Malawian flag high however the team is underfunded and is not given adequate attention room for growth and opportunities. It was recently reported that the Netball Association of Malawi is hopeful that the new government will implement actions that will be favourable towards the future of sportswomen across the country.