EU Week of Regions and Cities supports the promotion of gender equality at local level through sports

EU Week of Regions and Cities supports the promotion of gender equality at local level through sports

On 11 October, a workshop was held in the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities, presenting different sports-related activities organised to promote gender equality at the local level. The session welcomed speakers from Pedreguer (Spain), Šibenik (Croatia) and Malatya (Turkey), who shared their experiences in developing sports-related youth projects through a gender perspective. The municipalities sought to promote gender equality in local and non-local youth by engaging them in sports projects.

European Commission Policy Officer Violeta Birzniece emphasised gender equality as a high priority in the EU agenda, with the aim to enable women to access equal opportunities in society. She briefly presented the High Level Group on Gender quality report towards more gender equality in sport, which formulates recommendations at all levels: EU, Member States, national, and grassroots, across multiple thematic areas such as participation, leadership or media coverage. In the spirit of the European Year of Youth, the importance of considering sports, youth and gender equality all together as transversal topics as well as the role of sports as a tool to help young people recover from the pandemic were also highlighted. 

Sergi Ferrus Peris, Mayor of Pedreguer presented the Action Plans enacted for his city around guiding principles of social justice, intersectionality and citizen involvement as a way to increase the percentage of women who practice sports and provide more opportunities for girls to play sports. Former Croatian basketball player Andja Jelavic shared her experience with the gendered discrimination she encountered as an athlete, and the best practices carried out in her basketball academy to promote the game among young girls. The academy notably took part in an Erasmus+ sport programme project called ‘empowering women in basketball’. Finally, Sports Ambassadors Association of Malatya member Rahmiye Nur Ates presented the association’s current project for the establishment of mixed-gender football teams to defeat the stigmatisation of football as a men’s sport, which discourages young girls due to stereotypes and reduced media attention. The mixed football team project aims thereby at establishing mixed football teams in schools, increasing participation of young girls in football and erasing male dominance in football from public memory.

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