Western Cape Chess honour women with tournament

The Western Cape Chess Association will be hosting an Online Women’s Month Chess Swiss Open tournament on 8 August. The tournament will be open to all women and girls across South Africa.

As a Federation we acknowledge that the pace of transformation in sport is far too slow and we need more programmes to promote gender equality and the participation of women in sports. August month gives us a perfect opportunity to reflect on the challenges and successes of women in sports, said André Lewaks, president of WC Chess Association.

There is a huge body of international research that shows that women in the chess community find it very difficult to advance their career in chess once they leave school and get married. Gender socialization in society also makes it very difficult for these women due to dominant societal norms that favours men and allocate the unpaid care duties to women only.

Statistics South Africa revealed that women in South Africa do 8 times more unpaid care work as their male counterparts. A recent policy brief by UN Women Africa shows that unlike their male counterparts who each day spend 1.7 hours on unpaid care and domestic work, women spend 4.1 hours per day.

This statistic gives a good reflection as to why from the total amount of active chess players in South Africa in 2020 only 25,5 % are female. The Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities released a report this year that shows that the situation for women has worsened during the COVID-19 lockdown from a gender equality perspective.

The report shows that Gender Based Violence increased as well as the burden of care increased for women, especially since children are at home during school closure.
As Western Cape Chess we acknowledge the challenges women have in sports and society in general. We also know that chess gives us a perfect opportunity to close the gender gap since we are one of the few sporting codes were both men and women can compete against each other.

As a federation we would like to prioritize the following:

Gender sensitivity training for coaches and managers in order to address gender inequality within our own structures and to promote gender equality in general.
Gender sensitivity training for players especially men and boys so that they become more supportive towards women’s participation in sports as well as women’s rights and gender equality in general.

To do a structural review on gender equality and the participation of women in all spheres of the sport in order to help us to close the gender gap.
We therefore want to call on government and business to partner with us to address these gender challenges. As a federation we have been hit very hard by COVID-19 and do not have the necessary financial resources to implement these priorities.
Donations from any entity will assist us to address these challenges.

The Women’s month tournament is open for all women and girls. The link where they can register is as follows: https://tinyurl.com/y5rp8kyq
For more information about the tournament please contact Ricardo Minnaar at 081 546 2221.For more information contact the President of the Western Cape Chess Association at: president@wc-chess-assoc.co.za or 081 725 9339.