Missed Opportunities for Women in Sports

Women In Leadership at# FEWomen15 Brussels met Paola Ottonello Policy and Communications Assistant, Gender Equality in Sport, European Commission

In this short podcast Paola talks about the EU Commission’s Policy The 4 Stategic Actions on Gender Equality

Main areas of action

  1. Decision Making How there is a need to get more women in key positions on boards of sports organisations.
  2. Coaching We need to make sure that more women are educated as coaches, to make sure more women and girls play sport and are comfortable in that sporting environment. The numbers of women coaches are quite low at the moment.
  3. Gender Based Violence In Sport As part of an agenda to make sport an attractive and safe place for both girls and boys they have launched a tender for a study on gender based violence in sport, because they don’t have enough information for all the member states. “We don’t have comparable figures and this study will be carried out next year. That will be the basis for action in the future.”
  4. Negative Gender Stereotyping Finally there is a need to work on this and look at how women are portrayed in the media and how women’s sport is not portrayed. It is a missed opportunity to make sure that female sport is seen as more of a norm.

“We have already seen how football world cup for women was more broadcast than in the past and how that really brought to the attention of the people that that is an issue and that there are competent women players out there who do not get the recognition they deserve financially or in terms of visibility or even acceptance by society,” Paola says.

It Shouldn’t Matter What You Look Like

She believes that we need to find out more about the culture around women in sport, and to drill down into the data. Organisations have targets and quotas for women’s participation but women don’t apply. Statistics show that women and girls are participating in sport less than men. One successful example of campaigns was the UK’s ‘This Girl Can’. The campaign pushed women to go beyond their physical appearance and to show that sport is fun. It does not matter what you look like, it does not matter if you are not good at running or cycling. It is to encourage more ‘average’ women to do more sports and physical activity. “That seems to have had a very good effect so that is an area we need to tackle as well.”



Angela Mezzetti
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