VI Softball Association amongst pioneers for women in sport

Source: VINO

Bria Smith is only one of 37 other Females worldwide to hold the Title of President or Secretary General. Photo: Provided

The British Virgin Islands Softball Association has found itself ahead of the game, as it already has a Female Secretary General in Bria Smith in compliance with the recently endorsed Declaration on Women In Sport.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and the International Working Group (IWG) has announced that 82 Baseball and Softball National Federations around the world have endorsed the IWG Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration on Women and Sport, including the BVISA, which has Smith as only one of 37 other females world wide to hold the title of President or Secretary General.

WBSC President, Riccardo Fraccari signed the declaration alongside the IWG Co-Chairperson, Ms. Ruth Maphorisa last week at the Gaborone International Convention Centre, which has since followed with 82 national baseball/softball federations across six continents having become signatories in support of IWG’s movement.

“WBSC and our sport’s leaders around the world fully support the Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration and applaud the International Working Group on Women and Sport for their important work,” President Fraccari said. “WBSC considers the promotion and equal opportunity of girls and women in baseball and softball to be a duty and priority. Females represent a large part of our global community, but WBSC and our global movement remain doubly committed to making our sport even more inclusive and accessible to girls and women, and this includes in roles of leadership.”

“WBSC and baseball and softball represent one of the biggest gender-balanced, diverse movements in sports, so it’s a great honour and boost to have their support and commitment,” said IWG Co-Chairperson Maphorisa. “A growing global sport like baseball and softball, particularly with its youth and commercial appeal, can play a significant role in helping to shape a more female-inclusive sporting world.”

Nearly half of the current estimated 65 million baseball and softball athletes around the world are female.

Three women (23%) currently serve on 13-member WBSC Executive Board, including Secretary General Beng Choo Low (MAS), 2008 Olympian Maria Soto (VEN) and three-time Japanese Olympic Softball coach Taeko Utsugi. International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines set a target for at least 20% of decision-making positions to be occupied by women.

Japan’s first female director of the Baseball Federation of Japan, Hiroko Yamada, was elected at the WBSC Congress in Gaborone to serve on the WBSC Baseball Division Executive Board.

There are 37 current female presidents and secretaries general leading national baseball and/or softball federations across six continents:
Bahamas Baseball Association — Oria Maria Wood Knowles, Secretary General
Bahamas Softball Federation — Daphne McKinney, Secretary General
Belize Softball Federation — Tiffany Heusner, Secretary General
Bolivia Baseball and Softball Federation — Mirtha Vasquez, Secretary General
Botswana Softball Association — Gloria Gaosikelwe, Secretary General
British Softball Federation – (2) Jenny Fromer, President; Stella Ackrell, Secretary General
British Virgin Islands Softball Association – Bria Smith, Secretary General
Cayman Islands Softball Association — Molly Ann Moore, President
Chile Baseball and Softball Federation — Carolina Astudillo Ossandón, Secretary General
Croatian Softball Association – Dijana Peric, Secretary General
Denmark Softball Federation – (2) Henriette Gilhoj, President; Linda Ranlov, Secretary General
Ecuador Baseball Federation – Lourdes Garay, President
Fiji Islands Baseball & Softball Association – Surkafa Katafono, Secretary General
Ghana Baseball and Softball Association – Christiana G. Doodo, Secretary General
Hong Kong Softball Association — Heidi Ip Kit Ching, Secretary General
Jamaica Softball Association — Marvalyn Campbell, Secretary General
Lesotho Baseball and Softball Association – Bothobile Shebe, Secretary General
Lithuania Softball Association – Diana Pupininkiene, President
Peruvian Softball Federation — Vanessa Endo, President
Portuguese Baseball and Softball Federation – Sandra Monteiro, President
Puerto Rican Softball Federation — Lina E. Nazario, Secretary General
Saipan Baseball League (Mariana Islands) — Rose Igitol, President
San Marino Federation of Baseball Softball – Monia Magnani, Secretary General
Senegal Baseball and Softball Federation – Madeleine Sarr, Secretary General
Singapore Baseball and Softball Association — (2) Foo Pei, President; Sheng Thong Yin, Secretary General
Softball South Africa – Cynthia Tsholo Nthuping, Secretary General
Trinidad and Tobago Baseball Softball Association — Nicolle James, Secretary General
Tunisian Baseball and Softball Federation – Ahlem Ganfaly, Secretary General
Turks and Caicos Islands Softball Federation — Santana Rigby, Secretary General
USA Baseball — Jenny Dalton-Hill, Secretary General
United States Virgin Islands Softball Federation — Patricia Philipps Smith, Secretary General
Venezuelan Baseball Federation – Aracelis Leon, President
Venezuela Softball Federation – (2) Maria Soto, President; Milagros Hernandez, Secretary General

IWG will host the seventh edition of the World Conference on Women and Sport in Gaborone in May 2018.